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ProduceIQ: Limes get wet and rise to the occasion

Overview of limes from Mexico in the US market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.

Original published in on August 02, 2021 

Gold medal Olympians Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel aren’t the only ones getting soaked this week; record rain in Mexico is challenging lime growers.

Limes reach a ten-year weekly high, $15.20 for 40-pound cartons. Unfortunately for buyers and growers, record rain throughout the month of June is putting a damper on the beginning of peak season in Veracruz.

Reported prices (USD) of limes in the US Market (40Lb)
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Peak ripening season runs from August through December. Markets will remain tight and high for a few weeks. Aesthetically, product may be a little off with light scarring and discoloration.

Overall, the produce industry is entering a challenging time of year – mid-summer – for produce prices. It’s normal for prices to broadly decline over the next 4 to 6 weeks as locally grown produce reduces the concentration of suppliers.

This year, prices are above a 10-year average, yet below 2016, 2019 and 2020.

Historical prices (USD) of limes in the US Market (40Lb)
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Rain in the East is keeping yellow squash yields low and prices high. USDA data has prices at a five-year high.

The recent heat wave might be doing markets a favor by bringing western markets online quicker. Some regions are experiencing smaller item sizes and yellow squash is generally challenged with heat and rain.

Although Californian Squash growers may be helped by the heat wave, tomato crops are withering under the record temps. Product from the East Coast should provide some relief to elevated markets in a few weeks. Beefsteak, Medley, and Campari tomatoes are extremely tight.

Strong demand is pushing up broccoli markets on struggling supply. Markets are up +22 percent over the previous week. Growers in California and Mexico are battling the elements. Expect relief as temps cool and new growing regions come online.

Bell Peppers are at an eight-year-low. Prices fell for the third-week in a row following increasing volume coming out of the East. Quality is good and plentiful, especially on green peppers. Expect prices to continue to increase as production ramps up throughout August.

Strong demand for lettuce and leaf on weak supply is pushing prices upwards for the second week in a row. Volume is down on iceberg and romaine following reports of soil diseases and quality issues due to heat-related damage. Expect prices to increase throughout the beginning of August.

Despite being in peak domestic harvesting season, mixed berry prices across the board are on the higher end of the historical spectrum. Heat is damaging the fragile crops and creating challenging harvesting conditions for growers.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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