Unseasonable warm temperatures in Yuma, Arizona, are having a negative effect on quality and yields of iceberg lettuce and romaine. Crops in the desert growing region are bolting (going to seed), and our growers are harvesting 10-15 days ahead of schedule to prevent further crop loss. This is reducing yields in the short term, and may cause supply shortages later in the Yuma growing season.
Iceberg lettuce size and weights are fluctuating, and seeder continues to be an issue. We are seeing internal salt and pepper, insect damage, and the beginning phases of weak tip on the outer leaves of the product. Quality is marginal to fair at best.
Romaine is maintaining fair quality with no internal issues. We are seeing seeder issues ranging from 3-7” in some heads. Harvesting crews are cutting higher on the plant to reduce seeder, resulting in reduced yields.
These quality and yield issues are expected to continue through the end of November. We encourage you to check back often for updates, as we monitor this ongoing supply situation.
We have begun preparation for the transition from Salinas to Yuma for leafy greens. Following is an update of the status of crops in both areas, as well as information about when the transition will occur.
We will begin transitioning iceberg lettuce to Yuma November 2, 2015. Remaining acres in the Salinas growing region are not sufficient to meet demand. In addition, ongoing heat-related quality issues, including large seeder and internal burn, have further reduced yields.
The first blocks of iceberg in Yuma are showing cores, with some Christmas tree core being seen in the fields. 30-count size is more prevalent.
Romaine is projected to transition to Yuma November 6, 2015. There is limited acreage of romaine remaining in the Salinas Valley. High temperatures during the growing season have caused significant quality issues, including fringe and internal burn, and seeder.
Romaine will be harvested early out of Yuma to prevent loss to cores and burn. Product in the field is not cupping yet, as it is only 56 days from wet date. We are already seeing some issues with cores. Product is currently 10-12 inches tall with at least 7 more days to harvest.
High temperatures continue to have an impact on all leafy greens. Daytime temperatures in Salinas this week were up to 82°F, and daytime temperatures in Yuma were over 90°F. As a result, we do not expect to see significant yield relief until the first weeks of December.
We will continue to monitor the situation in both Salinas and Yuma, and will notify you if any significant changes to quality or availability are expected. Please know we value your business and trust that we will be diligent in our efforts to secure, produce and supply you with a quality product.
Please contact your Freshway Foods sales representative with further questions.