Today's Pricing

WATERMELONS — F.O.B.S AS OF SEPT. 15

SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CALIF. — Shipments (277-238-202, seedless 259-223-192, seeded 18-15-10) — Movement expected to decrease seasonally. Trading early moderate, late fairly active. Prices 60 count generally unchanged, others slightly higher. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 35 and 45 counts mostly 16-18 cents, approximately 60 count 14-16 cents. Quality generally good. Many present shipments from prior bookings and/or previous commitments.

TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA — Shipments (TX 215-166-135, seedless 189-150-126, seeded 26-16-9, OK seedless 7-5-10) — Movement expected to decrease seasonally. Supplies light. Trading early moderate, late fairly active. Prices higher. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless-type approximately 35 and 45 counts mostly 20 cents. Quality variable.

SOUTHWEST INDIANA AND SOUTHEAST ILLINOIS — Shipments (426-166-123, red-flesh seeded 21-8-4, red-flesh seedless 405-158-119) — Movement expected to decrease as many growers finish for the season. Trading red-flesh seedless 45s very active, red-flesh seedless 60s slow. Prices red-flesh seedless 45s higher, 60s generally unchanged. 24-inch bins per pound red-flesh seedless 45s 16 cents, 60s 11 cents. Quality generally good.

DELAWARE, MARYLAND, EASTERN SHORE, VA. — Shipments (317-166-90, red-flesh seeded 5-2-2, red-flesh seedless 312-164-88) — Supply insufficient and in too few hands to establish a market. LAST REPORT.

MICHIGAN — Shipments (149-116-76, red-flesh seeded 14-8-3, red-flesh seedless 135-108-73) — Movement expected to decrease as growers finish for the season. Supply insufficient and in too few hands to establish a market. LAST REORT.



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Red River Valley Potatoes

Many packaging solutions replace 10-pound potato bags

Big, 10-pound bags of red potatoes are on their way out, but there doesn’t seem to be a trend towards any particular pack replacing them, Red River Valley potato shippers say.

The 10-pound bag is almost gone, said David Moquist, partner and sales manager at O.C. Schulz & Sons Inc., Crystal, N.D. Most red potatoes in supermarkets now are packed in 5-pound bags, and many B-size potatoes are packed in 3-pound bags.

Paul Dolan, general manager at Associated Potato Growers Inc., Grand Forks, N.D., said buyers continue to seek private-label packaging, but preferred pack sizes vary with retailer. While some chains prefer 5-pound poly bags, others are beginning to use more private-label “combo bags” made of half poly and half mesh.

Mesh bags are more expensive, so a combo bag can provide a mesh look at a lower cost, he said.

Steve Tweten, president and sales manager, NoKota Packers Inc., Buxton, N.D., also said the trend in packaging is packing in whatever type of pack customers want.

Some red potato packaging promotes the use of red potatoes as bakers.

Associated Potato’s own bags promote reds as bakers, but most of its volume is shipped in private-label bags, only some of which promote baking reds, Dolan said.

Last season, Campbell Farms, Grafton, N.D., introduced a 5-pound grab-and-bake bag of red potatoes, but it wasn’t successful enough to bring back this season, said Tom Campbell, co-owner and sales manager.

“It didn’t take off the way we thought,” he said.

Although there were some customers for the bag, there wasn’t enough volume to make it worthwhile to pack. The bag was mesh with a handle on top. It promoted the red potato specifically as an alternative to the russet for baking.

The individually wrapped red baking potato didn’t take off, either.

Campbell Farms offered individually wrapped 8-ounce red potatoes last season, but it will not market them this year, Campbell said.

Dolan said Associated Potato experimented internally with using a microwaveable wrap for red potatoes but determined there wasn’t a distinct difference in the quality of a microwaved wrapped potato.

“We didn’t find any advantage as far as wrapped or not wrapped,” Dolan said.


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