Vegetables Update:

Olives – December 2007

Calamata Style Olives are on the increase from Turkey as the crop was quite short this year due to very hot temps and no precipeitation. Still Turkish product offers good value when compared to product from Greece, whose pricing has been creeping up due to the weak exchange rate. Additionally it is expected to see higher Ripe Olive prices this year, due mainly to the weak exchange rate and higher costs related to labor and tin plate. The crop in Spain was fairly good with sizing being on the small side. Morocco had a good harvest as well, however it is expected that Egypt will have fewer olives to offer this year.

Peppers – December 2007

The pepper crop from Turkey was short this year and importers have had to pay up due to limited inventory. Other producing countries such as Chile and Peru have taken advantage of this situation by raising prices as well. So bargains in this category will be hard to come by.

Tuna – November 2007

Surprisingly, the Tuna catch has not picked up significantly as of yet and many importers are only beginning to receive higher priced merchandise that they booked during the summer months. The Tongol catch is over in Vietnam and was not as substantial as in the past.

Tomatoes - September 2005

During the week ended Aug 27, California processing tomato deliveries are projected to total 955,826 tons, bringing the season-to-date total to approximately 5.6 million tons. Industry sources indicate that many of California’s sellers have withdrawn from the market for new business and are focusing on producing against current contracts in hand. Industry estimates are now putting the 2005 California crop at about 9.0 million tons, which is down 13% from the original forecast of 10.4 million tons. As a result, bulk tomato paste and other pricing have increased in recent weeks.

Tomatoes - End June 2005

To date this planting season has been plagued by rain throughout the state. Rainy weather has become a factor for many growers in California wanting to plant tomatoes. The rain continues to delay planting across the state and many growers have even had their planting window pass long ago. There are also many reports of herbicide drift damaging young tomato fields and we are not aware of anyone in the industry who does not foresee a smaller crop than last year’s – something below 10 million tons is the general expectation. In addition the price paid to farmers dropped from $51.00 / ton to $50.00 / ton and many growers have decided to grow other crops as a result. Harvest is expected to be a week later than last season and all processors are facing the increased cost in natural gas and diesel.

Strong shipments, a smaller expected crop this summer and higher costs have put upward pressure on paste pricing. Harvest and production are expected to begin just after the July 4th weekend.

Tomatoes - June 2005

Although the last report issued by the California Agricultural Statistics Service shows an estimated 10.4 million contracted tons of tomatoes for the State, it is believed that this number is very optimistic. In order to produce such tonnage, an average 39.2 tons of tomatoes per acre must be achieved in the state. According to recent observations, this number will be very difficult to achieve this year.

Crop status is in different growing stages. Early organics and conventional tomatoes are in fructification process. Pear tomatoes are blooming and beginning fruit set. Second organic run scheduled for August is starting blooming process. Rest of tonnage continues normal growing process.

The weather continues to be slightly cooler than last year. Accumulated heat units show a similar pattern to the year 2003 when processing season started late.

Tomatoes - October 2004

A nationwide tomato shortage brought on by Florida's rash of hurricanes and a nagging pest in Mexico is being made worse by a bruised and rotting harvest in California. Two to three inches of rain have brought picking to a standstill for more than a week, dropping production by nearly 40 percent for the normally busy October.

Florida's hurricane season delayed planting, essentially ensuring a shortage. The situation was exacerbated when Mexico, another major source of tomatoes, was hit with a pest outbreak that ruined up to 40 percent of production in the Baja region.

In California, moisture along with lower temperatures wiped out about 1,500 acres in the central and southern parts of the state. About 33,000 acres were harvested last year.

Tomatoes - March 2004

For several years, California's processing tomato industry has struggled with stagnant prices and soft demand. The state's tomato troubles led some growers to drop tomatoes in favor of cotton, rice or almonds, one of agriculture's most consistent moneymakers these past years.

This year's crop is estimated at 11 million tons, up from 9.25 million tons last year with Harvest generally beginning in June and running through November.

In the central San Joaquin Valley, the heart of the state's $571 million processing tomato industry, growers are slightly optimistic about their returns for this coming new year, now that it has been announced that they will receive $51 a ton for this year's crop.

So far conditions continue to look good.

Tomatoes - January 2004

The tomato harvest is complete. January 2003 Processed Tomato crop intentions were 10.9mm tons. May 30 intentions were dropped to 10.5 due to fewer acres being planted. Estimates in October were for a 9.2-9.3mm ton crop or about 12% below May intentions.  China, Italy, Spain and Portugal are also going to be 15-35% short. We expect tomato product shortages in some items this spring but overall inventory should be in balance due to the heavy carryover from some Sellers going in to the 2004 production cycle.  Although this year was a short crop California Tomato Products quality is excellent.