Featured: Meet Mike Casazza
We can’t wait to introduce you to our newest sales staff member, Mike Casazza! Mike is excited to be a part of the Westlake Produce sales team because, “The culture here at Westlake is dedicated to putting the customer first, which aligns with my personal beliefs in business.” Mike’s favorite produce includes watermelon, avocado, and mango! When he isn’t making sales, you can find Mike spending time snowboarding, making music with his lovely family, and helping to rescue senior dogs from being euthanized with his organization 4OldPaws. Along with all of that, Mike is absolutely certain he started the slacks and sneakers fashion trend in the late 2000’s, so you know he looks sharp at all times. We are thrilled to have Mike on our team, and we can’t wait for you to get to know him!
Apples, Pears, & Cherries
The apple market is on the rise. Across the board, all varieties are seeing price increases as storage inventories dwindle down. Small apples, including bags, will continue to be in short supply.
Northwest pears are winding up. California pear season is still 6-8 weeks away.
California cherry production is right around the corner! Harvest will begin in late April, and ramp up to good volume in the beginning of May.
Fun Fact: One of the most incredible natural features of the Opal Apple is that it does not brown after cutting!
A sweet treat!
California strawberries are in full production for Easter and Mother’s Day promotions! After some early weather challenges, the California strawberry crop is coming on with great production and quality. Berries from Mexico and Florida are done for the season. Mixed berries are still scarce, and will be until California is in full production.
Fun Fact: Berries are linked to brain health! They can help to reduce inflammation, protect brain cells, and increase the brain’s flexibility in adapting to new experiences.
The California citrus market, as a whole, has come down in price. Navel oranges are showing good sizing across the board, and they are at their lowest prices of the season. There are a lot of choice navels out there, but there is decent availability on fancy grade navel oranges as well. Lemons continue to be in good supply with low pricing! Special citrus varieties, such as Minneolas and Murcotts are producing smaller fruit at the moment.
Gold Nugget mandarins are available, and moving well, with promotable volumes!
Florida Honeys are available in a light way.
Israeli Orri mandarins are coming off in price and moving very well! We have promotable volumes available.
Fun Fact: Lemons are believed to be a hybrid between a sour orange and a citron.
Potato and Onion Update
Hearty and wholesome!
Florida continues to pack their 2019 red, white, and yellow potato crop. The white potato market is very short, and it’s going up. We do have good availability on red and yellow potatoes. Western Washington’s Skagit valley is packing excellent quality red and yellow potatoes. California should begin new-crop colored potatoes in the next few weeks!
Fun Fact: Many people think potatoes are vegetables but, in fact, potatoes are legumes! A legume is plant that is able to fix nitrogen from the air and put it into the soil, and potatoes do just that.
Washington and Idaho continue to move through their 2018 russet potato crop. Strong demand on the large carton russets will keep upward pressure on this market. There are deals to be had on 5/10’s and 10/5’s russets.
Fun Fact: Idaho, the present-day largest producer of potatoes, actually did not begin growing potatoes until 1836!
The onion market has leveled off for the time being. More Idaho growers are finishing up with brown and red onions. There are good supplies of brown onions from Washington, but red onions are very tight. California’s Imperial Valley will start their 2019 crop in the next few days. Texas is packing red onions, white onions, and 1015 sweet onions. Mexican onions from Tampico are finishing up, and the Sonora crops are getting ready to start. Onion acreage in Texas, Mexico, and California is down, which could keep the onion market strong for the next few months.
Fun Fact: The pungent juice of onions has been used as a moth repellent and can be rubbed on the skin to prevent insect bites
Overall, Mexican mangoes have been well-received with both nice quality and condition! Mango prices are starting to level off. Demand for mangoes remains steady. Ataulfo mangoes, of very nice quality and maturity, are making their way into the US. We have good availability on 20’s and 22’s, followed by 18’s. Tommy Atkin mangoes are starting to increase in volume. We have promotable mango supplies available for the end of April. Give us a call for ad pricing!
Fun Fact: Mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D.
There is a strong demand for limes during Lent; this, combined with crop transitions, is causing strong prices and low supplies at the moment. More mature limes are limited, with sizes peaking at 175’s and 150’s. New-crop limes remain small, with 250’s and 230’s being the most readily available. Overall, we will have a strong lime market for the next few weeks.
Fun Fact: India is the greatest producer of limes in the world.
Flavorful and colorful!
As we push through mid-April, most growing areas in southern Mexico are done. Pasilla peppers will be coming from even further south in Mexico as we get closer to Easter. With short supplies, the hot pepper market will be very active. All growing areas in southern Mexico will be finished with chili peppers by June, and we will move into Northern Baja Mexico. With the cold weather and rain in Baja, Mexico and California, USA over the last few months, these growing areas are a bit behind. Hot pepper prices will be in demand and prices will be high.
Fun Fact: Peppers are a fruit, technically, but the most popular peppers we eat are also part of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala continue to supply cantaloupes. Cantaloupe volumes are starting to slow down as the import season finishes up, with the majority of growers finishing up during the last week of April. Sizing has been good in recent weeks with 9’s, Jumbo 9’s, and 12’s available! Overall, the cantaloupe market is beginning to feel some upward pressure as the import season ends and the season in the desert starts later than normal. The desert is likely to start with their cantaloupes during the 3rd week of May.
Honeydews are coming from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Honeydew sizing is good overall, with plenty of 5’s and 6’s available. We also have pallet qualities of smaller sizing (e.g. 8’s and 10’s). The honeydew market has come off in the last month and there is a larger amount of fruit available, although quality has been hit and miss depending on the country of origin.
Seedless bin watermelon production has begun out of Mexico, albeit with minimal volume at the moment. Due to issues with weather and quality, northern Mexico is delayed in their watermelon production. This delay is creating a very strong seedless binned watermelon market. We anticipate better watermelon volume and quality the last week of April.
Imported melon season is expected to end earlier than usual this year. That, combined with a later-than-normal start to the domestic season, could create a multiple-week production gap. With all of this, it’s possible that the melon market could be short in late April and into the first two weeks of May. Please don’t hesitate to call or reach out with any questions!
Exotic and Exciting!
Currently, we have limited availability on boat dragon fruit, due to its quality. Air-shipped, white-flesh-red-skinned dragon fruit is available on a day-to-day basis out of both Ecuador and Vietnam. These air-shipped fruits are much fresher and they have a longer shelf-life. Because of their high quality, air-shipped dragon fruit is in high demand. Prices and availability are currently shifting on a day-to-day basis.
We do have some 5lb cases of yellow dragon fruit, out of Ecuador, but its availability is limited with pricing expected to increase. Air-shipped yellow dragon fruit will remain limited for the next 6-8 weeks. Air-shipped yellow dragon fruit volumes, again out of Ecuador, will increase after 3-4 weeks.
We have year-round availability of young coconut out of Thailand and Vietnam. Currently, 9ct young coconuts are available in a limited way, and prices are going up. We expect demand for these refreshing favorites to increase as temperatures rise on the West Coast. Please contact us for more information on availability and pricing, as this tends to change on a weekly basis.