Crop Update – 5/16/24

Numerous factors are contributing to the current quality and supply issues in California. While weather patterns are the main factor, the problems began with heavy winter rains that delayed and disrupted planting schedules, along with an overall lack of labor. Most spring crops were planted over the winter and have been in the ground for a long time, providing ample opportunities for problems to arise in the fields. Recently, cool temperatures and a persistent, deep marine layer have been major culprits, affecting the coastal valleys through May.

Romaine and iceberg lettuce production continues to suffer from anthracnose, sclerotinia, mold, and mildew, leading to lighter yields as growers work through affected acreage. Production is showing smaller head sizes with less solidity and density, contributing to lighter carton weights. Inconsistent temperatures and moisture have also increased spotting, oxidation (pinking), and rib blight. Processed items are likely to experience more bruising, discoloration, and breakdown, affecting quality and shelf life. Growers reaching for supplies are harvesting early to meet current demand, leaving less available acreage as the season progresses. This may lead to short-term supply shortages, especially in iceberg, romaine, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Spinach, spring mix, and other tender baby leaf items are susceptible to mildew issues due to dense plantings in moist weather conditions. Bacterial spotting is currently being reported in cilantro and parsley stands, drastically reducing yields in the near term. Mix items such as cabbage, Bok Choy, and Napa are also vulnerable to supply shortages as cool temperatures slow growth rates. Long-range forecasts continue to show a cooler-than-normal pattern with a dense marine layer and fog through May.

The heavy rains this winter have also led to tremendous growth of weeds and grasses throughout the region, providing ample harborage and food supply for insects and other unwanted pests. Rodents, reptiles, and amphibians will have plenty of food and hiding spots due to the super bloom of flowers, weeds, and grasses, likely increasing pest populations this season.

Seashore Fruit & Produce Co. in partnership with PRO*ACT will continue to keep you updated on this market and source the freshest products available to us.

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Seashore will be OPEN for deliveries on Memorial Day, Monday May 27th!
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