The El Nino weather pattern appears to have finally broken for the spring. The southern Florida fields have seen little rain for the past two weeks and the chance for rain in the next week is slim. However, the effects of all the rain, wind and clouds over the winter will continue to affect yields for several weeks to come. The size of eastern tomatoes continues to get smaller. This is causing the price of the smaller tomatoes to continue to fall. The supply of Ex-Large tomatoes is tighter which is putting upward pressure on their FOB cost. Quality continues to be generally good. A few growers in the Ruskin area are just beginning to harvest. However, there will not be any appreciable volume out of this region until mid-April. And as we have already reported, we expect lighter than normal yields out these fields due to the adverse weather that this crop has already endured.
Supplies in the east continue to be extremely tight and most repackers are sourcing MX tomatoes to meet demand. MX crossings are down slightly this week (as explained below) which is putting upward pressure on FOB prices. Quality is good in the east but variable from MX.
Supply levels generally steady. FOB prices are slightly higher this week compared to last week. Quality is generally good.
The supply of cherries continue to increase slowly. FOB prices are down again this week. Quality is variable.
· Weather forecast- Immokalee- Partly cloudy with only a slight chance of rain through the weekend. Highs will be in the mid to upper 80s with lows in the 60s.
Vine-ripes continue to cross at McAllen and Nogales. A limited supply of mature greens continues to be available this week. FOB prices are slightly higher. Fewer smaller versus larger sizes are available causing an inverted market again this week. We are seeing variableness in quality and shelf-life is suspect caused primarily by the excessive heat the growing region experienced a couple of weeks ago.
As predicted last week, FOB prices are higher this week. This is due to the heat the fields went through a couple of weeks ago that caused a higher than normal rate of ripening and a flush of supplies occurred. This is causing a small gap in supplies as we wait for the fruit remaining on the vines to mature. The region has also see 2 days of rain which is not helping harvesting. We predict that FOB prices will return to Suspension Agreement minimums by the third week of March. We are seeing quality issues in some lots due to puffiness and softness which is the result of the heat.
Grapes are crossing primarily at Nogales. FOB prices are higher compared to last week. Quality continues to be variable and generally only fair.
Cherry supplies are tight. FOB prices are steady to higher this week. Quality is variable and generally only fair. Color has been light.
Green Bell Pepper
East- Supplies continue to be weak but demand is even weaker. FOB prices have fallen on all grades and sizes. Quality has been generally good.
West- Demand is anemic causing downward pressure on FOB prices. As long as demand remains this weak, there will not be much pressure for prices to rise. However, the market will get stronger quickly if there is any uptick in demand. Quality is variable.
East- After one week of FOB prices falling, prices are higher again this week on both grades. Quality and shelf life remain variable and generally fair at best.
West- FOB prices are stronger this week. Quality is variable due to the heat the crops have gone through last month. Crossings continue at Nogales.
East- FOB prices are higher on all grades and sizes. Quality and shelf-life is variable.
West- Crossings continue at Nogales. FOB prices are higher. Quality remains generally good.
NO Change in Green Beans demand still far exceeds supply.
East- The off-shore Honduras product continues to unload but we are in the last week or two of that crop. The quality of the off-shore product continues to fall and shelf-life is also suspect. We expect that the cucumber market in March will be strong as the off-shore crop comes to its end and the central Florida domestic crop is late with expected lighter yields as the result of wet, cloudy and cool weather. The Florida crop should begin to be harvested within a week to ten days.
West- Product continues to cross at Nogales. FOB prices are higher compared to last week as demand is stronger due to the east coming to MX to meet demand. We expect the Baja crop to begin harvesting by the end of March.
East- FOB prices are generally steady. Quality of eggplant remains generally good.
East- More supplies are putting downward pressures on FOB prices. Quality is improving.