Tanimura & Antle's Mike Antle and D’Arrigo Brothers' John Scherpinski Weigh in on Salinas Veggie Market
- by Jordan Okumura
SALINAS, CA - There have been a host of challenges for vegetable growers on the West Coast during the past year, but as Mother’s Day approaches, growers tell us that increased demand and tight supplies don’t mean that the quality has been sacrificed.
Tanimura & Antle is noting strong markets across many of its vegetable categories as we move into early May, as Mike Antle, Executive Vice President, forecasts.
“The whole deal is accelerated because of the drought, shortage of labor, and the weather,” Mike tells me. The Salinas, California deal started two weeks early this year for most, because it was so warm. On lettuce, Tanimura & Antle forecasts that the company will be close to budget as next week gets underway but will be holding everyone to 6 week averages, as week 18, 19 and 20 will be very short.
“Now we are finding ourselves in this gap because of the cooler, and more to be expected, weather,” he notes. “Next week is supposed to be normal, but several items will gap as demand exceeds supplies on all our major items.” Week 18, 19 and 20 will have lighter lettuce volumes for T&A. While quality is excellent, expect higher markets.
“Volume is also at budget on celery and celery hearts, and other shippers have firmed up their pricings as volume has decreased. Paired with tight labor in Oxnard, the market will be steady to rising slightly,” he notes. “But again, you can find good quality on this harvest.”
Broccoli is also experiencing lighter volumes with an increase in demand. The company said that there is a little hollow core, but that is purely cosmetic with no discoloration.
Cauliflower markets are also continuing to stay strong and Mike adds that on consolidated items, artichokes continue to be tough to source.
In addition, John Scherpinski, Sales Director, D’Arrigo Brothers agrees that the shortages in supply are mostly caused by shippers harvesting ahead of schedule in Salinas.
“Our supplies across all commodities will continue to be short of budget. The most pressure will be on the mix leaf, iceberg lettuce, broccoli rabe, and cauliflower in the upcoming weeks. Our struggles stem from the warmer weather in the late winter/early spring, which moved supply harvest dates forward 12-14 days in most instances,” John notes.
Fennel has been an extreme example for D’Arrigo this season, and has been as much as 34 days ahead of the harvest schedule. Now with the colder nights and windy days, D’Arrigo is moving closer to being on a normal schedule.
“It’s been difficult to harvest budgeted numbers even when we have the supply, due to the labor shortage. With Mother’s Day trucks loading this weekend and Monday, it will only create more pressure to service our customer’s increasing demand for our products. Thankfully, quality across all commodities has been strong as of late,” John notes.
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we follow the spring and summer season in Salinas, California.