October was a rough month in the fresh produce industry according to National Produce Consultants. Throughout the month, fresh produce items on alert were in the double digits. During its peak, 17 items were on alert, but that number slowly decreased as the weeks went by. The main cause for this increase in fresh produce alerts was the combination of heatwaves and fires in California. While on the East Coast they suffered from rains and winds attributed to Hurricane Sally at the beginning of the month and Hurricane Delta in the middle of October. Additionally, the USDA Box Food program put several items under pressure as distributors continue to fulfill orders nationwide.
All of this caused quality issues resulting in tip burn, discoloration, and misshapen fresh produce items among other things caused by less than favorable weather. Shorter shelf life has also been a factor due to heatwaves and fires. Working hours continued to be limited as farmers continue to protect their staff from harmful working conditions. Supply gaps proceeded to rise as adverse weather conditions resulted in lower yields and Box Food programs were impacting the open market. Because of all this, loading times took longer than usual as distributors tried to complete all orders.
Fresh Produce Watch
Affected By Heat and Fires
Cauliflower – Cantaloupe – Honeydew – Green Leaf – Strawberries – Romaine – Iceberg – Onions – Broccoli
Affected By Weather
Corn – Eggplant – Bell Peppers – Squash – Cucumber – Pineapple – Tomatoes
Mushrooms (Demand) – Asparagus (Supply Gap) – Green Beans (Hurricanes) – Oranges (USDA Food Box)
For full reports click here.
What to Expect at Your Local Fresh Produce in November
As it’s been said for the past couple of months, gaining control of the wildfires in California will have a big impact on food distribution. With better weather in the forecast quality issues should be reduced in the West.
The aftermath of Hurricane Delta has impacted the production of corn, but as Georgia recovers productions will slowly start to pick up too. Additionally, corn will see some relief as parts in the West start to increase some of their production.
Another item affected by Hurricane Delta has been green beans, and while production starts to slowly pick back up it is not enough to keep up. Expect limited supply until Florida can help out with green beans production.
Speaking of Florida, they should be able to help out in the production of bell peppers as Georgia slowly recovers. Mexico will also provide a helping hand with both bell peppers and asparagus as the latter has seen a shortage in supply from both the West and East Coasts.
All lettuce will continue to be limited until full transition happens in the coming weeks of November. While oranges will finally start to see some relief as the transition from import to domestic comes to a close.
Finally, as we enter the winter months mushrooms will begin to see an increase in demand. But due to the fact that Crimini and Portabella mushrooms are seeing a shortage, coupled with labor issues due to COVID-19, mushrooms might face supply challenges in the coming months.
Peddler’s Son Is Here For You
As a family-owned wholesale produce distributor since 1988, Peddler’s Son is here to help your business grow. We provide exceptional customer service through transparency and integrity and continue to build valuable relationships by supplying Arizona customers with the best quality products. Contact us today to learn more about becoming a customer.