Today's Pricing

TROPICALS — F.O.B.S AS OF JAN. 26

CENTRAL AMERICA IMPORTS — Imports (28-44*-24) — Imports from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Movement expected to remain about the same. Port of entry: South Florida. Trading fairly slow. Prices chayote (40 pounds) and malanga higher; calabaza, dasheen and yams (name) lower; chayote (20 pounds), ginger root, taro eddoes and yuca generally unchanged. Calabaza 50-pound sacks mostly $13. Chayote 20-pound cartons mostly $8, 40-pound cartons mostly $15-16. Ginger root 30-pound cartons mostly $40. Malanga 40-pound cartons blanca (large) mostly $24-25, lila (large) mostly $24. Taro 40-pound cartons eddoes mostly $22; dasheen 50-pound sacks (medium) mostly $14. Yams (name) 45-pound cartons yellow mostly $39-40, 50-pound cartons white mostly $23. Yuca (cassava) 40-pound cartons mostly $15. Quality good. *revised.

CARIBBEAN IMPORTS — Imports (4-1*-3) — Imports from the Dominican Republic. Movement expected to remain about the same. Port of entry: South Florida. Trading moderate. Prices higher. Coconut 65- to 70-pound sacks 40s mostly $22. Quality good. *revised.

MEXICO CROSSINGS THROUGH TEXAS — Crossings (6-6-3) — Movement expected about the same. Trading fairly active. Prices generally unchanged. 40-pound cartons chayote mostly $13-14.50. Quality variable.



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Kern County Produce

Specialty spud growth keeps steaming along

While traditional potato types, such as whites and russets, struggle to maintain consumer sales, specialty potatoes continue to enjoy double-digit growth at retail.

Tasteful Selections LLC is one grower-shipper capitalizing on those changing consumer tastes. Part of Bancroft, Wis.-based RPE, it grows exclusively baby and specialty potatoes in Kern County, said Randy Shell, vice president of marketing and new business

development.

This season, the Kern County production mix will be similar to last year — Honey Gold, Ruby Sensation, Purple Passion and White Delight baby potatoes as well as fingerlings, he said.

Acreage, however, continues to grow to meet increased retail and consumer demand, Shell said.

Although its growers have not yet been affected by the drought, he said water supplies continue to be a focus and the dry spell’s long-term effects are concerning.

The grower-shipper offers most of its specialty potatoes in three tuber sizes and three package sizes — 24 ounces, 28 ounces and 40 ounces.

“Consumers are focused on convenience and flavor, and small package sizes are leading the way,” Shell said.

“Russet potatoes continue to be king in terms of volume, but we’re seeing a long-term shift toward specialty, red and yellow potatoes.”

The grower-shipper also has begun marketing Ruby Sensation and Honey Gold in 16-ounce microwaveable steamer bags.

Although still a small part of its overall business, Shell said the sector continues to grow as consumers seek easy-to-prepare options.


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