High transportation costs and light demand continue to limit produce shipments. With the increasing availability of vaccines and other demands for transportation, competition for refrigerated trucks is tight and prices are high.
Foodservice venues and restaurants continue to reopen slower than expected, as many are adopting a more cautious approach despite easing of local restrictions. The labor shortages that first affected last year’s harvests are now being experienced at wholesale markets as many employees have either found other lines of work or are choosing to avoid extended contact with the public in such a high-stress workplace. As more restaurants begin to reopen or expand capacity, labor shortages are impacting their ability as workers are slow to return to the sector.
Mexican asparagus crossing thorough Calexico, California and San Luis, Arizona movement is again expected to decrease seasonally as temperatures in growing areas increase. Trading moderate with prices on organic higher, 28-pound large generally unchanged and others lower. Most shipments are still being booked at previously committed prices and there is a wide range in quality. Price reporting on white asparagus out of Peru has begun but supplies of green are still insufficient to establish a market. Movement is expected to increase slightly, but supplies may remain light as indications of significant Covid-19 related issues with production, packing, and logistics are being reported out of Peru.
Movement out of the central district of California is expected to increase seasonally. Trading was moderate and prices generally unchanged on light supplies. Most shipments are currently being booked at previously committed prices. Asparagus harvest in the Walla Walla district and lower Yakima Valley, Washington has begun for local markets, with the market report on prices expected later in the month as additional growers begin harvest.