The Volatile Tomato Market

News from our growers as the tomato market reaches a record high for 2017:

As Florida prepares to start production in the central and southern growing regions supplies are limited due to the effects of Hurricane Irma. Southwest Florida is in recovery mode from a direct hit by a category 4 hurricane on September 10th, this large wind event decimated many of the plantings in central and south Florida. The end of October, through November and into early December comprises the Ruskin/Palmetto and Immokalee growing region. This area experienced 80-100 mph winds and torrential rainfall. The result of this damage will show up as a reduced crop and volatile markets. We would expect that this crop may come off slightly early with a tendency to be the smaller size yielding 40% or less of a normal crop. New crops are being planted currently, the expectation is that these will be the first normal crops we will have barring any unforeseen weather in the future. Projected harvest date of these crops will be the end of December or the first of January 2018. Pricing will continue to accelerate during this timeframe on all tomatoes - Lipman Family Farms

After Thanksgiving defied expectations on nearly all fronts. Instead of sluggish sales due to slow post-holiday movement, the markets simply went wild – especially on round tomatoes and romas. The effects of the supply shortage out of Florida, which has been a factor for weeks, have intensified. There is hardly a round tomato to be found in the open market, causing prices to skyrocket on all sizes and styles (2-layers and 25lb bulk) Romas are doing their best to keep up, and although there is a gap in price compared to rounds by a few dollars. With Florida virtually completely out on both rounds and romas for the foreseeable future, and with large California crops having terminated as well, there is no end in sight to the shortage of supplies and, consequently, the escalation of prices. In addition, Baja California suffered from extreme heat in the summer which had a direct effect on the pollination of the plants heading into the tail end of the Fall Season. This same weather even had a delay in the planting of crops out of Culiacan, Mexico on the mainland and they are now delayed with volume. Adding to these larger industrywide trends, our own crop out of Vizcaino will be entering its final stages by mid-December, and will wind down completely by early January. In the meantime, our new winter Culiacan crop will gradually start to ramp up throughout December, and we will be ready to start loading 100% out of Nogales within the first week of the new year. In the meantime, the expectation is clear: very tight supplies – especially on rounds and romas – from all regions, with very high prices to go with it. - Good Farms

As with any produce crisis, quality will not be good, and prices will be high.

We go thru great lengths to check each case of produce that enters and exits our docks, but with limited shelf-life, we ask our customers to please check your cases of tomatoes before accepting them.

(217) 483-1770
(217) 483-1771
M.J. Kellner Co.

5700 International Parkway
Springfield, IL 62711

MJ Kellner Foodservice proudly serves a 100 mile radius of Springfield, IL including Peoria, Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington, Normal, Decatur, Effingham, Jacksonville, Collinsville, Taylorville, Pekin, Mt. Sterling, Pittsfield, Carlinville, Alton, Litchfield, E. St. Louis, Jerseyville and their surrounding areas.

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