(Week #13, ending April 2nd)
ProduceIQ Index: $1.09 /pound, +1.9 percent over prior week
The theme for the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure event, “The rise of produce,” captures the current state of produce markets wonderfully. Prices are anticipating the return of normal demand, increasing for a 4th consecutive week. Overall industry prices are at record highs for this week #13.
Don’t be dismayed if you’re a buyer on the hunt for a deal. Although overall markets are up, there are treasured little eggs to find for everyone’s basket this week. Transitions to new supply is creating promotable pricing on more than one commodity in the ProduceIQ Index.
Up +23 percent, cucumbers are gapping in both East and West coast. In Florida, a few fields finally crown after the East Coast endured declining quality from Honduras. Mid-winter cucumber prices slumped since mid-February. A short window of decent prices exists before Mexico’s northern region, Sonora, increases volume. Supply movement will accelerate within the next few weeks.
Cucumbers valiantly press for improved pricing during early spring.
Squash, on the other hand, has an inequity of excess supply, causing prices to fall -21 percent. Quality is good, especially on squash coming out of Florida. Quantities are promotable on both yellow squash and zucchini.
Squash prices remain low for 8 weeks.
Low supply and increasing demand upped the price of strawberries, +10 percent. Mexico and Florida’s growing season is nearly finished, California is the only domestic producer left, leaving supply tight and prices high, over $15/case. Demand, prior to Easter weekend, pushed prices further.
Celery is up slightly, +8 percent. Yuma’s harvest is fizzling out and season is transitioning to the Oxnard/Santa Maria growing region. Quality remains strong and promotable pricing is available on larger volumes.
Lettuce, specifically iceberg, fell –20 percent to under $9 /case after a short run at higher prices. Iceberg pricing has been uneventful this winter. Ideal growing conditions are creating ample supply of high-quality lettuce, great news if you are looking for a buy.
Quality remains strong and supply improved, somewhat unexpectedly, on grape tomatoes. Although grape tomato prices fell significantly this week, -39 percent, prices are not unusual for this time of year.
Grape tomatoes descend with historical norms.
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Hope to see you at SEPC’s Southern Exposure. May the produce force be with you!