El Niño Weather to Bring Tight Supplies for Growers During the Salinas-Yuma Transition; T&A, Braga Fresh, and Boskovich Farms Discuss

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Fri. October 16th, 2015
- by Jessica Donnel     

SALINAS and YUMA - With recent forecasts bringing to light that El Niño may bring heavy rains to the entire Southwestern United States, California suppliers have had their eyes on the perfect schedule to start their transitions into Yuma, Arizona. With both unseasonably warm weather and wetter than average forecasts on the horizon, we can expect this Salinas-Yuma transition to be earlier and supplies to be tighter as we head into November.

Mike Antle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Tanimura & Antle

“Last Friday, temperatures had reached 25 degrees warmer than normal this time of year, and a few big rainstorms are expected for both Salinas and Yuma in the coming days,” says Mike Antle, EVP and COO for Tanimura & Antle. “This will only further create supply issues as we go into transition season. If we could switch the dates for Memorial Day and Thanksgiving, it sure would help us load up the stores for Holiday promotions.”


The industry has seen decreasing yields the past few weeks for the Salinas deal overall, Mike adds, particularly noting the company expects iceberg, leafy greens, and red onions to be tight. 

“Expect markets for iceberg shipments to go up. Currently, yields are decreasing in Salinas, so we’ve started harvesting on the Tres Picos ranch on Thursday. Quality there is very good and the outlook is bright,” Mike continued. “Our leaf deal is being challenged as well, but we are able to maintain adequate quality and supplies.”

Braga Fresh and its Josie Organics line is also wary of the upcoming weather abnormalities, Roger Zardo, Director of Sales tells me, predicting the stormy season to lift demand higher than supply for most crops.  

Roger Zardo, Director of Sales, Braga Fresh“Anytime we have active storm patterns it will affect the industry. The most direct way we get affected is from excessive rains causing flooded fields, damaged crops, resulting in slower more costly harvests,” says Roger. “In general, demand will exceed supply, and I think we are going to see strong markets through the holidays.”  

Products on Roger’s radar that demand may be particularly high for this fall are Josie’s Organics Celery and Cauliflower.

“Right now our transition to Yuma looks to be ahead of schedule, due to the heat we have been experiencing this Fall,” adds Roger. “With the El Niño weather pattern forecasted to hit California, fingers crossed it will be a wet winter. The state of California needs a lot of water.”

When speaking with Russ Widerburg, Sales Manager for the Oxnard-based Boskovich Farms, it's clear that he’s optimistic about both the upcoming wet weather being a help to both California’s drought and commodity markets overall, telling me that he’s ready for Ventura County to finally get the extra rainfall it desperately needs.

Russ Widerburg, Sales Manager, Boskovich Farms

“With El Niño type weather, it stays warmer for longer, so chances of freezing temps diminish. Yuma and the San Luis Valley of Mexico sometimes do better in an El Niño year, because they usually don’t get the wet weather and also don’t get the freezing temps,” explains Russ. “With markets being relatively high across the board on so many commodities, it seems to be more commonplace for pricing to stay high unless we come across a huge increase in supplies.” 

With strong markets being predicted to stay with us throughout the holiday season, you can bet AndNowUKnow will keep checking back with suppliers for more on what retailers can expect out of the Salinas-Yuma transition. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest.

Tanimura & Antle Braga Fresh Boskovich Farms