The warm and humid weather we have been experiencing recently is creating most of the quality & supply issues. The forecast is for the current weather pattern to continue for the next 7-10 days, with no relief. We anticipate the production will drop within the next 7 days as a result of poor quality. As this situation continues, it is even more important that each field is carefully inspected and the pack is monitored to ensure only the best available export quality is harvested and packed for our customers. It is critically important at this time that buyers communicate their requirements and market situation so that we are aware of the quality that is acceptable under these extreme circumstance.
Broccoli damage is extensive including hollow core, brown bead, high level of insect population and insect damage. There is less acreage planted and the less than ideal growing conditions are resulting in even lower yields. We are struggling to meet even minimal contract commitments due to growers' volume and quality. Growers are also falling 50% or more short on all domestic contracts.
Cauliflower acreage is close to normal but quailty is beginning to deteriorate due to the weather conditions. We see hollow core, mold, riciness (soft edges) and discolored heads. In some fields the leaves (jackets) are showing burn.
Celery, for now, continues to resist the heat damage. The volume is good and quality is stable at this time. Few shippers have reported some problems but our export quality is very good at this time with tall stalks, good weights and green color on all sizes. There has been some advance reports of black heart coming in about 2-3 weeks. This is a heat related issue. But for now, no quality issues exist and we have plenty of good export celery to ship WK 34-35-36.
Iceberg Lettuce continues to be plagued with heat related quality issues. This week export harvest was curtailed due to internal and external tip burn, salt and pepper, mildew, heavy ribbiness, misshapen and puffy heads, dehydrated texture, and scleratinia disease in some fields with overhead irrigation. Very few commitments on export are being met. Overall volume is moderate but very few fields are making export quality.
Romaine Hearts continue to be beaten by the unseasonal weather conditions, in most fields causing internal and external tip burn, and salt and pepper. Many fields are showing from moderate to severe seeders, twisted ribs and bowl shaped heads. Most fields are light weight as growers move into fields early to avoid as much of the heat damage as possible. 90% of romaine hearts are open (uncupped) and harvested this way intentionally to reduce occurance of internal burn. And yet, there are still some romaine hearts for export with careful field selection.