Inside this Food Report
Weather in the Pacific Northwest is heating up this week as pea processing in Oregon and Washington is winding down. Temperatures expected to reach as high as 102 degrees Fahrenheit today and tomorrow in and around the Columbia Basin. Noon members were in Eastern Washington and Oregon just last week and although the fields looked good and the quality of the peas we saw were beautiful, it is being reported by some that yields will be off and the market will be tight. Please read more in our crop section below.
Our cherry season here in the Northwest has been fantastic and I for one have been eating bags of cherries this season because they have been so darn good!
While spring and summer weather in the Pacific Northwest has been mostly favorable for crop planting and growing, the Midwest region is still suffering from heavy rain. Parts of Minnesota are flooding and there are flood warnings still remaining along the Mississippi River with more rain forecasted for this week. There are also reports that some pea fields are under water in Minnesota.
This month Guatemala will begin to produce their first production level harvest of edamame. Edamame consumption in the United States is growing at an amazing rate and this trend is predicted to only increase in the coming years. While most edamame and mukimame continues to come in from China, many buyers have hesitations with the safety and integrity of the product. We believe Central American edamame will be well received as an alternative to Asian edamame with the quality and price that buyers demand!
Summer time for most of us receiving this newsletter means making sure our contracts are being met with the price and superb quality our buyers require. It also means the Noon team will be on the road to see first hand that the fruits and vegetables we send to our clients meet their strict standards and are safe as well as delicious. We want to thank all our processors, especially during this busy time of year, for all their efforts and dedication to supply Noon International the finest frozen and canned vegetables and fruits in the industry!
All The Best,
Betty and The Noon International Team
P.S. Congratulations to all our Belgium friends for their soccer win against America today!
Oregon/Washington – Green Pea harvest underway and should finish up within the next week. Coming into pea season our weather was ideal, however sudden heat during the first part of June caused a few suppliers to bypass acreage. A few processors have reported that overall yields are down and some suppliers will come in under budget. This along with low inventories coming into the season will result in higher prices and a tight market.
Sweet Corn in the Northwest is approximately 90% planted and harvest is expected to commence by middle July. Weather conditions are very good and to date the corn crop looks fantastic!
Northwest Green Bean harvest expected to commence end July and dicer carrots are planted and beginning to emerge.
Fryer potato’s in the Columbian Basin are anticipated to begin harvest by July 5th. Strong export sales with limited potatoes in storage has resulted in a tight market. Currently processors do not have enough raw materials to keep plants running at capacity and shipments are being delayed. We have heard that some processors are bringing in raw material from Idaho and Canada.
It has been an ideal climate for the Northwest Cherry crop this year. Yields and quality are excellent and some report that cherry season could be extended through August.
Raspberry crop beginning in Washington and Oregon States. Recent weather has been favorable for raspberries so most fields look very good. However there was winter damage so there are some fields not doing well. Meeker variety being picked now and Wakefield to be harvested around July 7th. Due to ideal weather blueberries may be coming on early this year. Reports are that the Northwest blueberry crop should be a good one this season with a start date for some fields of middle July.
Idaho – Super Sweet Corn planting in Idaho is completed, however conventional corn plantings continue. Weather conditions have been favorable and water levels good.
Midwest/Minnesota and Wisconsin - Corn plantings behind due to wet weather.
Mexico: Yields for both broccoli and cauliflower are above average due to favorable weather conditions. No issues with pest or disease have been reported. Most of the raw material is coming from the Northern part of the state of Guanajuato. The rainy season should begin soon and usually will last through August/September.
Guatemala: Broccoli season in Guatemala has begun. Factories should be at capacity by the end of July. Buyers are urged to get their bookings in as demand has been very strong. Suppliers are now playing catch up from shipments which were carried over from the last harvest that ended in May when raw material decreased more rapidly than usual. Weather is favorable and to date no adverse conditions reported. Quality is excellent.
Guatemala’s first full production of edamame will commence in middle July! This is the first time edamame has been grown in Guatemala on a full production level! The edamame has excellent taste and color! Harvest and production will continue through September. Guatemalan edamame is an excellent option for buyers who are looking for quality, safety, and value.
Costa Rica: Rainy season continues and pineapple volumes remain low.
Ecuador: Broccoli suppliers are still working to catch up and fulfill pending orders before opening up to new business. Ecuador is in discussions with the EU to join the free trade agreement. This could mean more broccoli going into Europe from Ecuador.
Peru: Freezing of avocado will finish this month. Most suppliers have come in close or just under budget. There was strong demand leading into the harvest with little if any volume available for spot purchase. Peru has become the South American leader in avocado growing and supplements neighboring countries avocado production such as Chile and Argentina, where avocado pricing is higher.
Chile: Kiwi season in Chile has wrapped up. Conditions were less than favorable causing lower yields and higher pricing. Chile is now entering their off season with the next main crop being asparagus in late September.
Europe: Green Pea harvest is underway in Belgium, France and Sweden. Conditions remain good and reports are that yields and quality will be favorable.
Zhejiang Province: Edamame harvest is struggling due to heavy rains in this region. Many factories have chosen not to begin the harvest until first week July when better quality is expected. Yields are expected to be lower than average. Some say prices will be stable and some say prices will go up. We will keep you posted!
Green Bean yield decreased by 30% due to acreage reductions. Harvest is completed and quality was fair. Prices are 30 – 40% higher than last season.
Fujian Province: Green Bean harvest is completed with average quality and yields.
Edamame harvest began in June. Rain in this area has affected the quality and yields. Some reports advise that yields are down approximately 20% with slight price increases. Harvest should be winding down this month.
Shandong Province: Edamame harvest will begin this month and to date growth and quality look good. Asparagus summer crop is now underway. Some reports of light flavor.
The Dirt on Land Pollution In China
Images of Chinese citizens, walking through thick smog with their mouths and noses covered in surgical masks, keep popping up in the media triggering alarms about air pollution in the world’s most populated country. However, a more serious environmental problem exists in China just below the surface – land pollution. A recent report published on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection in China declared more than a fifth of China’s land unfit to grow food due to the high levels of contamination. Causes of contamination are heavy metal pollution, high use of pesticide and fertilizers and polluted water.
The public announcement of this report was met with shock and concern around the world. Due to the high level of pollution, it was warned by top Chinese agricultural authorities that China may need to “withdraw” approximately 66 million acres of arable land. With China’s growing population, feeding China will soon become a challenging dilemma.
China needs up to 300 million acres of agricultural land to feed its citizens. As of 2012, China had 334 million acres. With 66 million acres of land “withdrawn”, it faces a shortfall of 32 million acres of land where grains, fruit, and vegetables could be grown, necessitating China to import food from other countries and possibly causing grim geopolitical and economic problems worldwide.
The high degree of pollution is said to be due to excessive use of pesticides in farming as well as toxic effluents from industries and developmental projects, part of China’s rapid urbanization. The main heavy metal pollutants are cadmium, nickel and arsenic and seem to be worse in the south and southwest of the country where there is large-scale metal mining and where industrialization began meaning a longer time to pollute the land. It was also found that Hunan Province, in central China, which grows approximately 16% of the country’s rice, had some of the worst soil pollution because it is also one of China’s top producing areas of nonferrous metals.
There are steps on the horizon to bring in special protection zones for agriculture and bring in strict laws to control soil contamination. In the meantime do not be disheartened if you are currently purchasing frozen vegetables from China. Reputable vegetable processors in China have soil checks and balances in place. Noon International purchases many of their products from Northern China and ALL of our supplies do soil testing and provide documentation from third party entities of clean soil, which is well within the safety limits. The most important aspect when buying vegetables from China is to know your processors well, visit often, and do your homework on their agricultural systems. This is something, which Noon International practices day in and day out. So next time you are in the market for vegetables from China, give us a call, you will most certainly be in good hands!
Fab Five Summer Foods!
Summer is here! For foodies, this is also a great time to feast on fresh produce that is light and healthy. Berries of all hues and shapes, melons, grapes, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, and fresh beans, …oh my, these are only some of the fruit and vegetables that come to mind when one thinks of summer. We want to bring you the best of taste and nutrition this summer and so have brought you our super-five and the health benefits of each one. And no worries, if you don't see them in your fresh produce department they are always available frozen and remember you cannot get fresher than frozen! Let’s take a look at five wonderful fruit and vegetables that you just have to have this summer! And it’s okay, skip the fresh produce aisle and go straight to the freezer case for these 5 great summer foods!
America’s Growing Appetite For Organic Foods
Organic Foods – previously thought of as fruits and vegetables from small local farms using natural growing practices has now become big business. With the recent announcement of Wal-Mart to enter into the organic forum there is no doubt that organic is here to stay in a big way. How consumers define organic food can vary but the underlining thought is that growing organically means good for the environment and no pesticide or chemical use. This leaves a lot open for debate but for this particular article we will focus on the growth of the organic market in general. We will save the debate for another time!
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