Archive for January, 2017
The recent California rains were brought on by an atmospheric river weather pattern consisting of large amounts of humidity. They are usually over a 1,000 miles long and over a 100 miles wide, and can carry a greater flux of water than the Amazon, the largest river on earth.
The rain has halted most of the citrus harvesting in the three main growing regions except for in small sporadic amounts. There may be some small pockets that are dry enough to pick and pack but for the most part we don’t expect volume to be back to normal until the end of next week. Any fruit being picked is a tedious process because of the difficulty of bringing a ladder into a muddy orchard.
Growers will try and pick as much fruit as they can before the rains start. Once it rains the fruit needs a few days to dry before they can begin picking again. If they are picked and packed before they are dry they will have a higher incidence of developing the post-harvest disease called clear rot. Clear rot is not immediately evident but will show up as softening of the tissue with possible mold. Although this rain will be very beneficial in the long term it is disrupting supply in the short term. The citrus varieties affected include navels, all mandarins, blood oranges, lemons, cara cara’s, minneola’s and grapefruits. Stay tuned for updates.
Heavy rain in California over the last week has completely shut down all local growing regions tightening the supply of many fruits and vegetables. There were some rains down in the desert but not as intense. The rain not only makes it difficult for workers and tractors to get out on the muddy ground to harvest but it can delay the planting of the next crop. We could see a shortage of some items down the road when they would have been ready to harvest.
As we mentioned in our last blog we are currently sourcing most of our winter season veg out of the Coachella Valley, down into the Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona. This is the time of year where it can be quite cold in the desert and winter veg can be susceptible to frost, limiting supply. The weather has been surprisingly warm but we are still seeing very limited supply on some items such as lettuces and kales. Though it is difficult to determine all factors of supply challenges, these are ones that are most obvious. One of the biggest reasons is that the whole country is pulling from California and there is just not enough product to go around. We can also look to shorter daylight hours during winter, limiting the number of harvest hours and a two day ride from the desert up to the Bay Area. Expect prices to increase on some items as supply stays low and demand is high.
Rancho Don Antonio Berry Update:
Tony Chavez, owner of Rancho Don Antonio, sent us pictures yesterday of his farm in Nipomo, an hour north of Santa Barbara, flooded by the recent rains. There will be limited supply of raspberries and blueberries over the next month. The blackberry hoop houses have been pulled out so the land can soak up the rain, making supply very limited over the next few months. Stay tuned for updates.
Avocados will be in the spotlight as we ramp up for Super Bowl as well as the transition out of Mexican fruit and into Californian fruit. The California crop is expected to start up in early February with volume about half of what it was in 2016. Fruit and nut trees are alternate bearing, with one year producing a greater than average crop, and a lower than average crop the next year. More on this and other reasons for the lower volume in our next blog.
Avocado supply update: Earlier this week there were blockades all over Mexico protesting a gasoline tax and the devaluation of the peso. The protests shut down roads affecting the supply chain to the United States. It is possible that this will result in a tightened supply and price increase.