Shipping issues and weather conditions continue to impact arrivals and domestic harvest volumes. Lack of available skilled labor means some US ports are facing unloading backlogs of weeks or more, with an increasing number of empty containers piling up. Wet fields, cold temperatures, wind, and other weather effects have affected maturity of certain commodities and led to decreased supplies. Food service demand remains light, but additional restaurant openings are expected to improve uptake at the wholesale markets across the country.
The Peru asparagus harvest is expected to decrease seasonally, with fairly slow trading and lower prices this week. Shipping delays at both Peru and US ports remain a concern. Mexico asparagus movement is expected to increase seasonally, with projected availability until mid-April likely despite some production slowdowns due to wet weather and cooler temperatures. Moderate trading at lower prices due to heavy supplies in US markets early in the week was followed by lighter demand at higher prices by the end of the week after harvests were temporarily limited by rain.
Chilean blueberry arrivals are expected to decrease to both east and west coast ports. Trading remains fairly active with prices slightly higher to higher. Mexican blueberry movement is expected to remain about the same with active trading.
Prices were slightly higher this week on pints and unchanged on other packs while quality continues to be variable. Bell peppers from Mexico crossing through Nogales, Arizona are expected to remain about the same with moderate demand. Trading is moderate at much lower prices, as already heavy supplies continue to increase. Crossing volumes of green Bell peppers from Mexico through Texas are in too few hands to establish a market and reporting has ended for the season.
Central and south Florida supplies are expected to slightly increase, but this may change due to cooler weather which is expected to curtail early morning harvests in coming days. Moderate to fairly good demand kept prices mostly steady, with some sizes slightly higher or lower. Some shippers are finishing the fall crop and will have a production gap until early March. The effects of a slight shortage of truck availability continue to be felt on prices and movement out of the region.