According to National Produce Consultants, transition issues were the main story for fresh produce distribution in the month of November. As vegetables moved from California to Arizona, transition affected the supply for many wet vegetable items. In total, 14 fresh produce items were on alert throughout the month, with a peak of 11 items in a single week.
Romaine, iceberg, strawberries, asparagus, mushrooms, and green leaf were the items that were on alert the whole of November.
All three lettuce items continued to recover from the past heatwaves and the transition to Arizona put even more pressure on them. Strawberries were also playing catch up with supply and are looking to bounce back from quality issues caused by the heatwaves. Mushroom supply continued to be short as we entered the holiday season where demand for mushrooms is at a high. Along with high demand, there continued to be a shortage in crimini and portobello mushrooms. Asparagus experienced a supply gap as harvest from Mexico was producing low yield numbers due to cold weather.
Cold weather from Mexico was also affecting the production of both tomatoes and summer squash. Additionally, both fresh produce items were also suffering from rain conditions in Georgia and Florida. Corn also saw problems in its production due to rain in those same states. While Hurricane Eta affected the supply of green beans ever since it hit multiple growing regions.
Other fresh produce items affected heavily by their transition from California to Arizona were cauliflower, broccoli, and parsley.
Finally, oranges recovered from the supply gap caused primarily by the USDA Food Box Program. As domestic season is in full swing, supply for oranges should continue to improve.
Fresh Produce Watch
Items Affected By Transition
Romaine Lettuce – Iceberg Lettuce – Green Leaf Lettuce – Cauliflower – Broccoli – Parsley
Items Affected By Weather
Asparagus – Corn – Tomatoes – Green Beans – Summer Squash
Strawberries (Heat & Fires) – Mushrooms (Demand) – Oranges (Supply Gap)
To view the full reports click here.
What to Expect At Your Local Fresh Produce in December
As transitions continue to take place for the next couple of weeks, expect supply shortages from wet vegetables. This should continue until new crops get into full swing by the first couple of weeks of December.
Although lettuce items might benefit from this new transition to Arizonathey’ve suffered greatly from fires and heatwaves during the past couple of months in California.
On the other hand, warmer temperatures might be welcomed in Mexico after cooler temperatures have affected production for several fresh produce items. Improved weather conditions in Mexico should give some relief to summer squash, tomatoes, and asparagus.
Improved weather conditions in east coast states such as Georgia and Florida will also benefit production for tomatoes, summer squash, and corn.
Production for green beans has been hit by a couple of hurricanes this season, severely affecting their production. Depending how well they recover will determine how their production continues.
Mushrooms continue to expect a rough holiday season as demand continues to grow but crimini and portobello shortages remain.
Finally, oranges have turned the corner in their supply gap. As domestic season is in full swing, oranges start to catch up on the demand gap imposed by the USDA Food Box Program and a rough transition period from import to domestic harvest.
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