( The Packer )

There can never be enough sweet corn or cherries for Fourth of July retail promotions, and that is especially true this year.

Both sweet corn and cherries are trading at elevated prices compared with a year ago, and volumes are lagging below year-ago levels.

Reports from Washington state indicate cherries harvested and packed in June will fall well short of earlier expectations. Georgia sweet corn shipments also are lagging compared with a year ago.

In general, it seems produce markets have seen rising shipping point markets in recent weeks. One would think at least part of that bump can be attributed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

That program, according to the USDA, will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products. 

Through June 25, the USDA reports 21.1 million food boxes delivered as of June 24.

AMS is expected to extend the period of performance of the contracts, via option periods, dependent upon program success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion.

Check out some price and volume charts for produce markets in recent weeks...