Industry-Wide Garlic Shortage Causing Elevated Prices for Next 3 Months

Produce Updates March 16, 2016

Growing Region

California – Production has started in the Salinas growing region but is being limited due to wet weather. Ideal conditions are forecasted all week with temperatures in the low-70s. This should help promote growth of product in this region.
Desert Region (Arizona/California/Northern Mexico) – harvesting is beginning to wind down in the desert area. Abnormally warm temperatures during the month of February have caused some quality issues in crops coming out of this region. Forecasts are calling for low-to-mid 90s through the weekend with zero precipitation.
Florida – The effects of February’s cold weather is still being seen in some products. Florida’s forecast is calling for temp high-80s to low-90s with rain returning this weekend. This will help harvesting crews cull fields and promote crop growth.

Products:

Asparagus – Strong Easter demand is pushing up the market. Supplies are tight as the northern mainland Mexico season is ending and we are transitioning to Salinas, California. Quality is good with some mild feathering from high temperatures.

Broccoli & Cauliflower – Both markets are beginning to rise. Abnormal weather last month has caused quality issues in broccoli crops. Supplies will remain tight over the next several weeks as we transition to the Salinas growing region.

Garlic – It is becoming more and more clear that there is a bigger shortage than anticipated. The countries that can pick up the slack are also experiencing problems at this time. Irregular weather patterns during last year’s domestic planting and harvesting phase caused more defects and lower yields for this year’s crop. Argentina is ending there disappointing season and have reported their last ten loads will not ship. California has garlic just can’t meet increased demand. Mexico 1st crop purple usually comes in April. We are hearing that due to weather crop is undersized and yields will be poor and late. Mexico Baja due 1st week in July, too early to tell. California new crop will hit mid-June at the earliest, quality and yield too early to tell. Expect elevated prices and low volume over next 3 months.

Strawberries – the primary California growing region received .5” to 1” of rain Friday. Despite rain, the supply remains adequate. Expect promotable levels between California and Florida through Easter. Both regions are showing minor short-term defects such as bruising, occasional decay, and wind scaring. Crews have cull fields over the weekend and quality is expected to rebound later in the week.