Steady supplies, markets as lettuce deal moves to desert

11/08/2012 10:00:00 AM
Andy Nelson

lettuceCalifornia lettuce grower-shippers report good quality, normal volumes and steady markets as the deal transitions from Salinas and Huron to the Arizona and California desert.

Salinas, Calif.-based Coastline Produce was shipping solely from the Huron, Calif., region the week of Nov. 5, said salesman Mark McBride.

The week of Nov. 12, the company’s mix was expected to be 75% Huron, 25% Yuma, Ariz. By the following week, Coastline expects all of its lettuce to be sourced from Yuma, McBride said.

As of Nov. 5, those transitions looked to be on schedule.

“As long as Mother Nature doesn’t deal from the bottom of the deck, we should be right on time,” McBride said. “There’s been no rain or excessive heat, and the quality has been good.”

Some head size irregularity has been reported in Yuma, but for the most part, quality there looks fine, McBride said.

Coastline expects normal weekly volumes through the holidays this season.

Salinas-based Boggiatto Produce Inc. expects to begin shipping romaine from the Imperial Valley the week after Thanksgiving, about right on time, said Michael Boggiatto, the company’s president.

The company’s Salinas deal would likely overlap the Imperial deal by a week or two, also normal, Boggiatto said.

Boggiatto Produce reported typical volumes for this time of year and good quality from Salinas in early November.

“We kind of lucked out with the weather,” he said. “We have adequate supplies and the quality’s still pretty good.”

Cartons of romaine were selling for $8-9 in early November, maybe up a bit from typical prices for this time of year, Boggiatto said.

“Markets are maybe a little stronger, but not enough to get people whooping and hollering,” he said.

Prices would likely stay fairly stable heading into the desert deal, Boggiatto said.

On Nov. 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $8.06-9.65 for carton 24s of romaine from Salinas, down from $13.50-15.36 last year at the same time.

McBride expected iceberg prices to firm up some heading into Thanksgiving.

Carton 24s of iceberg from the Central San Joaquin Valley were $7.95-9, down from $14.47-16 last year at the same time.



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