Today's Pricing

WATERMELON — F.O.B.S AS OF JULY 14

GEORGIA — Shipments (1,458-1,263-1,057, red-flesh seeded 122-80-63; red-flesh seedless 1,336-1,183-994) — Movement expected to decrease. Trading red-flesh seeded 35s and red-flesh seedless 60s moderate, others very slow. Prices red-flesh seed 35s and red-flesh seedless 60s slightly higher, others lower. 24-inch bins per pounds red-flesh seeded-type 35s 12-13 cents; red-flesh seedless-type 36s mostly 11 cents, 45s mostly 12 cents, 60s 13-14 cents. Quality generally good.

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CALIF. — Shipments (314-303-384, seedless 294-278-352, seeded 20-25-32) — Movement expected about the same. Trading seedless 35 count fairly active at slightly lower prices, others fairly active. Prices seedless 35 count slightly lower, seedless 45 count generally unchanged, others slightly higher. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 35 count mostly 18 cents, approximately 45 count mostly 19-20 cents, approximately 60 count 17-18 cents; red-flesh seeded-type approximately 35 and 45 counts 12-14 cents. Quality generally good.

TEXAS — Shipments (500-349-182, seedless 480-333-171, seeded 20-16-11) — Movement expected to decrease slightly. Trading early slow, late moderate. Prices 45 count lower, others higher. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 35 and 45 count mostly 15-16 cents, approximately 60 count mostly 14 cents. Quality variable.

SOUTH CAROLINA — Shipments (171-140*-125, red-flesh seeded 21-18-6; red-flesh seedless 150-122*-119) — Movement expected to remain about the same. Trading seeded 35s and seedless 60s moderate, other seedless slow. Prices slightly lower. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seeded 35s mostly 13 cents; red-flesh seedless 36s and 45s mostly 11-12 cents, 60s 13-14 cents. Quality generally good.

IMPERIAL AND COACHELLA VALLEYS, CALIF., AND CENTRAL AND WESTERN ARIZONA — Shipments (seedless AZ 224-207-103, CA 19-0-0) — Movement expected to decrease sharply as most shippers are finished for season. Supplies insufficient to establish a market. Quality generally good. Lighter shipments were expected to continue through July 19. LAST REPORT.

MISSOURI — Shipments (0-8-64, red-flesh seeded 0-2-6; red-flesh seedless 0-58-*) — Movement expected to increase. Trading moderate. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type 36s 14 cents, 45s 15 cents and 60s 15-16 cents. Quality generally good. *unavailable

NORTH CAROLINA — Shipments (1-16-37, red-flesh seeded 1-6-5; red-flesh seedless 0-10-32) — Movement expected to increase as more shippers begin the season. Sufficient volume and number of shippers for first f.o.b. report were expected the week of July 14.

SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND SOUTHEAST ILLINOIS — Shipments (0-0-8, red-flesh seeded 0-0-0; red-flesh seedless 0-0-8) — Very light harvest has begun. Expect sufficient volume for first f.o.b. by late July.

DELAWARE, MARYLAND, EASTERN SHORE, VA. — Light harvest was expected to begin by the week of July 21 with sufficient volume and number of shippers for first f.o.b. report by the week of July 21.



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Kern County Produce

Demand for more colors spurs increase in pepper acres

Specialty colored peppers, whether full-sized or their pint-sized cousins, have become a sweet item for grower-shippers, prompting some to increase acreage this season.

During the past several years, Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World International LLC has enjoyed demand growth on its full-sized elongated sweet red and yellow peppers, marketed under the names Le Rouge Royale and Le Jaine Royale, respectively, said Natalie Erlendson, marketing manager.

This will be the third season that Sun World has offered retailers high-graphic bulk display bins on pallets that are similar to watermelon bins.

“Retailers put it in the front of their store, promote at an aggressive price, and they’re able to move significant volumes with this type of display,” she said. “They have been a successful promotional vehicle for a lot of our customers. They drop them on the floor on Friday, and by Sunday they’re empty.”

Sun World offers two formats — a full-size 2-foot high bin for larger format retailers and a half-size bin for smaller format stores or for retailers who want to split the displays within a store.

Production will transition in early June from the Coachella Valley to Kern County for about a six- to seven-week run, said Gene Coughlin, category director for overseas and domestic peppers. It will then move to California’s Central Coast.

In addition, Sun World markets sweet mini peppers in 1- and 2-pound high-graphics handled pouch bags, Erlendson said.

Sweet minis have become such a seller that the grower-shipper has increased its south San Joaquin Valley acreage twofold and its Coachella and Oxnard acreage by 50% this year, Coughlin said.

“I think it’s something that consumers are becoming more familiar with, and we’re seeing customer demand grow for this product,” Erlendson said. “It’s a unique item that can help grow the product category.”

Consumers’ quest for healthier snacks may be one factor driving demand, she said.

“Snacking is on the rise, and people are definitely looking for options other than potato chips or popcorn. Their sweet, mild flavor profile and how well they pair with dips like hummus or ranch make this is a great healthy snack option.”

Baloian Farms, Fresno, Calif., also will have red and yellow bells, sweet mini peppers and colored baby bells from Kern County this season, said Jay Angulo, salesman.

Production in the Arvin and Wasco areas helps bridge the gap between Coachella, Fresno County and the Westside.

Baloian Farms began growing and shipping sweet minis four to five years ago and has seen demand continue to increase, he said. The grower-shipper added colored sweet baby bells, marketed under the Bella Fina name, last year.

All of the peppers are marketed under the Pam Pak label, and most are packed in high-graphic handled bags.

“They’ve become almost a different category all by themselves,” Angulo said of the pint-sized colored sweet peppers. “People love that grab-and-go bag.”

In addition, Baloian Farms offers retailers high-graphics displays for the stand-up bags.

While the sweet minis lend themselves to snacking, the baby bells are more of a culinary item, such as for stuffing as an appetizer, Angulo said.


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