Weathermelon Weather Report - February 12, 2019
IRVINE, CA - Good morning, AndNowUKnow readers!
Today, I am bringing you some of the category and weather news from around the industry. Check back twice weekly to see where the rain is falling, the sun is shining, and everything in between.
Rain in California Continues to Play Havoc on Markets
As the rain in California sees no end in sight, the markets continue their march higher. All commodities that are being grown in the coastal regions of California have seen excessive rain over the past month, leading to decreased supplies and major issues with quality. Strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and celery have all seen prices rise again this past week due to the heavy storms over the weekend. And there is more rain to come this week.
Last Friday I spoke with John Krist, CEO of the Ventura County, California Farm Bureau, located in the county of Oxnard. According to John, “the biggest impacts from these rains is damage to ripe strawberries, which turn to mush when they get that wet and can’t be sold for fresh fruit. That damaged fruit ends up getting stripped and sold for juice or jam, which is a money-losing proposition at this time of year, but one that can’t be avoided—if left in the fields that damaged fruit will spread fungus”.
John also stated, “We also had harvest delays in just about everything, including citrus, which can’t be picked when wet. And there’s a heightened risk of fungal disease in vegetables, too, particularly celery”.
Lastly, John told me this: “It’s worth remembering, however, that this is what a normal year used to look like. Our frame of reference has been skewed by nearly 7 years of drought or below-average rainfall. Dealing with these issues is par for the course”.
In fact, this year's rain levels are higher than normal. The historical average combined rainfall for January and February in Oxnard, CA, is approximately 7 inches. Over the last 7 years or so that California has been in a drought cycle, the average combined rainfall for these two months is less than 4 inches. This year 9 inches of rain has already fallen in Oxnard, and we have two more weeks to go.
This next shot coming on Wednesday and Thursday will drop another 1.5 inches of rain and bring the total close to 11 inches. It’s no wonder harvests are being delayed.
You ask about Santa Maria and Salinas? They also will see another 1+ inches of rain this week.
Citrus—Freezing Temperatures in Central California
The National Weather Service issued freeze warnings for yesterday morning and this morning in the San Joaquin Valley as temperatures dropped below freezing for up to 6 hours the last two nights. Some locations, such as Visalia saw temps drop down to 28° Monday morning and 29° this morning. Please check with shippers of citrus to see how they may have been affected.
Rain and Heat Coming to Florida
Rain is coming to all current growing regions in Florida today.
From Plant City all the way south to Homestead, all growing locations can expect approximately .25 inches of rain today. Behind this storm, expect one day of cooler temps on Wednesday. Temperatures will drop by about 10–15° across the board tomorrow. Not to fret because on Thursday temperatures will be back to normal in the low 80°s during the day and the low 60°s at night. There is another opportunity for light rain on Friday and Saturday.
Starting Sunday, Florida will be feeling the effects of a heat wave. Up and down the state expect maximum temps close to 90° and min temperatures in the mid to upper 60°s. These temperatures will last at least through Wednesday of next week. Expect production to heavier as we head into next week.
Bloom Drop and Temperature Swings in Culiacán?
Some people in the industry are stating that the reduction in tomato supplies out of Mexico right now is due to bloom drop caused by the cold temperatures back in the late December. As you know, farmers are always tight lipped when talking about crop issues, so this is something I have not been able to confirm. What is certain is that supplies have tightened a bit and prices have moved off the minimum where they had been for the past several weeks.
Temperatures in Culiacán will get progressively hotter throughout the week, peaking this Friday with a max temperature of 94° and a minimum temperature of 61°. On Saturday, Culiacán will begin a cooling trend, and by Wednesday, February 20, they will see a minimum temperature of 50°. This should slow down production somewhat by the end of next week.
Thank you again for your support, and we will be back on Friday with another update.