The holiday season has ended and the associated demand for certain types of produce has passed, even as several growing areas will end their harvest seasons or face seasonal gaps in production. As closures and restrictions still affect schools, restaurants, and other public dining venues, it is likely that these gaps will have less impact in the marketplace than usual this year. For many commodities, it seems that the lower supplies at this time of year have helped maintain prices and demand at moderate levels.
Asparagus shipments out of both Mexico and Peru remain light. Peru availability is expected to increase as new shipments arrive this week at both East and West Coast ports. Mexico production is projected to increase by mid-January and there are reports of good growing temperatures, which should lead to adequate supplies as harvest advances. Overall prices are higher on the limited supplies available, with good demand and active trading.
Mexican blueberry prices were higher this week despite slow to moderate trading and variable quality. Movement out of Chile is expected to continue to increase at higher prices with fairly active trading. Availability is being limited by a backlog unloading Chinese container ships at West Coast ports, with ships waiting as long as two weeks for berths. This slowdown is also affecting the condition of the berries on these ships and in the marketplace, leading to an increase in demand for fresher Mexican blueberries. Peru blueberries continue to decrease seasonally, with fairly active trading and higher prices. Very light supplies of blueberries from Uruguay were available in a few markets.
Bell peppers from Mexico crossing through Nogales continue to increase seasonally as more shippers get underway.
Demand remains good due to light supplies with active trading and some higher prices. Supplies crossing through Texas remain about steady with moderate to fairly active trading and slightly higher prices. Central and south Florida supplies are light with moderate demand supporting prices remaining steady to slightly higher and cool weather again expected which will continue to keep movement light. Green Bell peppers from the Coachella Valley are expected to decrease sharply as the harvest season ends there.
The following tables provides a four-week price trend of the highest traded commodities this week.
Increasing movement on Mexico strawberries crossing through Texas is expected at higher prices. Crossings through the Otay Mesa port of entry are also increasing seasonally with active trading, although quality and condition remain variable. Both organic and conventional strawberries out of Florida saw good to exceeding supplies for demand, with active trading and higher prices. Cool temperatures continue to slow harvest and limit supplies again this week.
Movement out of the Santa Maria growing district is expected to decrease sharply as the season ends. Strawberries out of Oxnard district are expected to increase at higher prices although quality and condition remain variable.