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2022 Is Off To A Bumpy Start

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Cold, rainy, and snowy weather, the New Year Holiday week, Covid, labor issues and logistical challenges have kept a lot of workers out of the fields and the packing sheds and equipment off the road.  Trucking out of Nevada and the Pacific Northwest continues to be very tight and almost all the passes out of Washington are closed. Blewett Pass in Chelan County is closed due to heavy snow and limited visibility. It is located on US 97, the main Highway bringing apples from Chelan Fresh in eastern Washington. Loads that were scheduled to be on the road before the weekend are delayed. In addition to the challenges mentioned above, cold and rainy weather in California and Mexico have also slowed down production on many crops and prevented growers from getting their pickers and equipment into the muddy field. 

Blewett Pass Wenatchee Mountains Washington State

A few items to note: Fujis, Galas and Pink Lady apples will be tight this week until trucks from Washington can make the journey over the snowy passes. Peri and Sons red, yellow, white and sweet onion supply out of Yerington, Nevada will look better this week. Red and yellow cipollini onions will remain limited.  Tasteful Selections is struggling with their fingerlings and we will move fully into Wong potatoes out of the Klamath Region this week. 12ct Cauliflower is not sizing up in the desert due to low overnight temps. 16ct Cauliflower will be more prevalent. Covilli 15# Green Beans(Mexico) will be limited this week. Rain in Covilli’s fields flooded some areas and they are seeing some rusting.  Rain is forecast to be back Tuesday and Wednesday this week so we may see a gap on Covilli beans at the end of the week. Cool and rainy weather in California has slowed down strawberry production. California strawberries are gapping, and we have moved into Fresh Kampo (Mexico) with larger fruit and good color. Forbidden Blueberries will return mid-week. Central West Produce Blueberries will start off the week. CWP is wrapping up their California Raspberry deal and there is not a lot of fruit on the market. We will see Fresh Kampo(Mexico) trickle in as they start production out of Baja. Some of the more delicate herbs such as tarragon, dill and basil, are challenged by the cold weather. Ralph’s out of Mt. Vernon is finally not snowed in and will start harvesting again and we will see leeks in 1-2 weeks. In the meantime we will have plenty of Lakeside and Josie’s leeks. Asparagus volume is looking up out of Mexico and we will see mostly large sizes.  California Artichokes are back in a limited way. Lakeside is reporting that early last week their crops were subjected to freezing temperatures in their southern growing region of Holtville, CA. “We lost a block of radishes, tops were destroyed and romaine ended up blistered. This caused us to push our crews back to harvesting at 10am, bringing down production and we ended up having to pro-rate our vegetables.”

Photo Courtesy of Lakeside Organics- Frost on Lettuce in Holtville, California

Inventory is looking better this week on the following items, however weather will continue to be an issue through the winter. D’Anjou Pears, Gold Bunched Beets, Bunched Broccoli, Calo Bunched orange, rainbow and Red Carrots, 16ct Cauliflower, Red Butter, Bunched Spinach, Daikon, Iceberg Lettuce, Flat Parsley, Specialty Mushrooms, Sweet Onions and Red Radishes. Raspberries are back from Central West Produce(Santa Maria).

Another thing to remember is that many growers have made the transition down to the desert and it is a 2-day ride back up to the Bay Area. All of these challenges have tightened up inventory as we headed into the New Year.

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