Blog

Randy Hooper - January 4, 2013
Category: Produce Update

Ouch! Checking this morning’s temperatures and seeing -1c in the southern deserts and northern Mexico is not a good thing – and neither is the news. It has been unseasonably cold across the major growing belt straddling the US/Mexican border since dec 21st, with several frost days, and several more in the forecast. While there isn’t much damage with light frost (except to lettuce), and destroying spinach crops, volumes have been knocked back considerably with most veg now moving from an over-supply 2 weeks ago to thin pickings expected for the next 3 weeks. Prices on most items are up 20-25% today, with broccoli doubling overnight. Cooler temperatures farther to the south along the Gulf coast and Baja are also lengthening growing times which will impact price and supply on peppers, cukes, zukes and tomatoes – we're already seeing a bump up on most of these. High temperatures for the day are running 5 – 7c below normal in those areas. Port inspectors must have had time on their hands over the holidays, so we have a delay on banana arrivals while they poke around in our containers. We are listing Organics Unlimited as well, and expect to be light on BOS for the first ½ of the week. Ahhhh…the joys of direct import! Speaking of that, our first container of Apromalpi Fair Trade mangos will arrive at our door on wednesday. – and you can expect some significant price relief with the Ecuador organic season done, and all the fruit is large. We’ve dropped price on our final stock of tommys to be more in line with our expected pricing next week. Finally, our Mexican grapefruit program is back on track after a short gap – there was limited supply and a very lucrative market within Mexico, but an abundance of new crop has opened the door again. This is beautiful fruit, and well-priced. New load of avocado arrives on the weekend, and being later in the season, the fruit is sizing higher, giving us better supply on larger sizes. Lemon prices continue to fall.

+Continue reading Colder temperatures in prime growing regions in the desert.+
Randy Hooper - December 28, 2012
Category: Produce Update

Things are looking pretty good in the fruit department. Apple supply continues to be strong, with some deals to be had on bagged fruit. Avocado sales normally slid a bit in December, but apparently guacamole is on the Christmas menu now. We are out of 18’s but have good supply of other sizes, with a truckload of avocado and grapefruit loading today in Michoacan. The market price continues to be very reasonable, with Mexico having a huge crop this year. Expect the first of the Peruvian mango to hit the market any day. Our first container is due in about 10 days for what will be a 14 week run – expect excellent pricing. The melon market has tightened considerably with cooling temperatures, but reasonable supply from southern Baja. The real story continues to be citrus, with favourable pricing, excellent quality on all varieties and a great selection. Bartletts are done until the first Argentina fruit arrives, but it will be a 3 month wait. We’re also having to shop south of the line for some varieties as B.C. supply starts to thin out. Blueberry sales continue strong, especially now we’re into 6 oz. packs. The rest of the berry supply is very thin and spendy. Pomegranates have run their course – we expect to sell through in the next week. We’ve had an unseasonable amount of hard frost in the past week in Mexicali, Holtville and Yuma in the past week, with prices expected to react quickly to damaged crops and limited production. Cilantro and lettuce will be the first to react, and expect some purpling on your cilantro for a couple of weeks. We continue to get just stunning produce from Nature’s Way, with the first of their green cabbage due in tomorrow. We are STILL seeing lots of veg product from Cascadian growers in Washington and Oregon who have still missed any weather bullets (frost and snow). We don’t expect to be selling bunched carrots grown a few hours drive away in January!

+Continue reading Happy New Year!+
Randy Hooper - December 14, 2012
Category: Produce Update

Who the heck put Christmas on a Tuesday? Probably the worst day of the week for shipping outside Vancouver than you can imagine. Read our freight schedule information and you’ll see your options. We are loading heavily expecting some of you to be shipping your post-Christmas product as early as the 21st. We’re ready! Looking at last year’s ‘post Christmas’ sales, it seems that consumers took two distinct trends – the first was to re-gift their Turkey a few days later, with another round of celery, Brussels and yams after Boxing Day, and the second was a move to cleansing foods and lots of fruit. Draw your own conclusions. There has been a shortage of celery before the holidays for 3 years in a row, and it gets worse every year. Celery takes nearly 4 months from seed to box, and transplants went in late across the southern desert regions because the baking hot summer carried well into September – too hot for transplanting. So the demand from other growing areas sparks and supply is limited. We’re very grateful to Natures Way, who have come through for us 3 years in a row, growing at cooler ranches 6,000 feet up, in Nueva Leone – so we have excellent supply, and stunning quality. Other than celery, the whole array of fruit and veg seems to be in great shape as all the desert producers are in full production, with cauliflower, the other tight market back in good shape. Good supply of chard (18 ct) from our Baja organic program, with the first bunch beets slated for later next week. Mexican shadehouse crops are in high gear, with full selection of all peppers, eggplant, and all tomato SKU’s. OriginO stripped their pepper plants last week, and we have a handful left, and now they have stripped the last of the vine tomatoes, which won’t last long! Wet and cold weather continues to plague harvests for California citrus producers, but the cold helps to colour it up. Lemons especially, as prices continue to come off.

+Continue reading Its the Christmas sales week! Did someone says "brussels"?+
Randy Hooper - December 12, 2012
Category: Produce Update

We’re starting that ramp-up for the holidays, cramming our coolers with yams, celery and the widest possible range of root crops. Avocado sales continue to grow every week with consistent quality and that increasingly popular Fairtrade logo. We’re in a blueberry transition, with tapering supplies from Argentina, and the first from northern regions in Chile. We should also see a transition to larger 6 oz clams over the next week or two as Chilean production ramps up. Desert Valencias are definitely a treat this time of year – with plenty of juice and flavor. Citrus is a hopping category right now, and we’re getting ready for an on-slaught of more varieties every week. Pear selection is excellent but we will be saying goodbye to the last of the Washington Bartlett supply this week. Lots of pomegranates, with improving price points, even as production winds down. And then there’s those luscious pineapple – priced to please! Veg supply continues to be fairly stable, but just wait – with big pulls on greens over the next two weeks the market always gets a little wonky as producers juggle crop and price. The first chards from our Ejido project arrive tonight – we’re way ahead of last year and the fields look good. Expect cilantro to start next week. Note that the chards are packed in 18 count boxes – our larger boxes haven’t arrived yet. We continue to get late season greens from B.C., Washington and Oregon growers who are making up for a late start this spring. We haven’t really had any hard frosts, and nothing close to freezing south of the line. Specialty potatoes have been a total hit this year – we were a little worried that you folks wouldn’t make enough room for this wide selection, but we were dead wrong. We’re sure that consistent supply has made it worthwhile for you to dedicate permanent shelf space to these. Speaking of consistent – two winters ago, mixed mini sweet peppers sales rocked.

+Continue reading I yam what I yam...+
Randy Hooper - December 6, 2012
Category: Produce Update

You’d better start making more room for the ever-expanding line-up of citrus. New this week are the incredible Cara Cara pink fleshed Navels, and Satsuma with stem and leaf! Nothing says fresh better than oranges with their green leaves attached! Meyers lemons, Rio Star Grapefruit and Marrs oranges should be in on Friday as well. The Desert Sweet Valencia are beauties – this is our 7th year buying this fruit packed by the Sonora Coop (Citricos), with 140 small producers, and the crop this year is excellent! Our next load of avocados is in, with far greater volume of bagged fruit. Mexican avocado supply is very strong, with prices off. Mango sales continue strong, despite the spendy price tag, a good omen for a very strong season, especially with the lower prices the first of the Peruvian season will bring at the end of the month. There is an over-whelming volume of melons coming out of Mexico – a little extra heat in all areas ramped up production creating a buyers market – take advantage while this lasts. Pineapple supply continues strong with prices reflecting a great Costa Rican crop. Green beans! These Rico beans are stunning, and at prices down 20% from last year while the weather stays hot in Hermosillo. Greens prices are slowly coming off, and the broccoli market has opened up substantially. We are continuing to hear of severe crop damage from the Bagrada beetle, which has now invaded through the entire Imperial and Mexicali valleys. This voracious bug has no natural predators and the population continues to soar. A couple of years ago they were racing for kale and broccoli, but have now developed a taste for beets, chard – even wheat. We expected this to affect supply and pricing this year, with no organic cure, but so far we aren’t seeing that, and will keep fingers crossed for producers down south. OriginO is finally winding down, after a very impressive and long season.

+Continue reading Cara Cara Navels are in!+
Randy Hooper - November 30, 2012
Category: Produce Update

So now we can turn our attention to holiday season, and a shift in buying habits. Winter has set in across the West, and the webs are re-growing between our toes on the Coast. Copious amounts of rain continue to fall across coastal California, but with most produce now coming from the desert regions along the border, from El Centro to Yuma, rain is never an issue. With 23 varieties of apples to choose from, sales are brisk. We know you don’t have room for all of them, but maybe you could tempt your customers with the new Nicola – a B.C. original, – or beautiful heirloom Pippins – Elstars and Newtons. We have finally found some Mexican grapefruit – we sure missed this program this fall, with our previous growers finding a better return in the national market in Mexico. Mangos continue on the pricey side, with Ecuador being the only current source, and under-producing for a rapidly expanding market. The current level of supply is only at 60% for conventional, and tighter for organic. Our first Peruvian Kent container goes on the water next week. The Peruvian crop is huge this year. So fill up your fruit racks with melons – bring a bit of summer to your wet, cold customers, with incredibly low pricing on cantaloupe and mini watermelons. Of course, the entire citrus category is rocking along, as it always does this time of year. B.C. Bartletts are done, with a short back-up out of Washington, then that’s that. The rest of the pear category is strong. Pineapple sales continue strong, with good-sized fruit at solid price points. The broccoli market has inched up again, with coastal growers fighting with rain. The rest of the green veg selection is pretty stable, with prices coming off a bit more on chard, kale, parsley. Lettuce is still tight, although new fields opening up in the Imperial Valley will ease the situation. Along with spinach, lettuce can’t be harvested in the rain, which has impacted most coastal California producers this week.

+Continue reading December is upon us already!+
Reiko Fujibayashi - November 29, 2012
Category: Hot Shots

Howdy Y’all,

Hot Shots is backkkk….

Sorry about the long break, we’ve been busy here at Disco, and it’s been hard to get in the coolers and fully explore it like I’d like to.

We would like to take the opportunity to welcome Heather Russell to our Sales team! It’s super exciting to have her here, and she brings great experience and energy to our group…hurray!

Today’s the start of something good…

Let’s take a look at what we’ve discovered.

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Red Leaf Lettuce from Lakeside!

Crispy and fresh!

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Red Savoy Cabbage from

Tahoma Farms in Washington!

Something new for your cabbage selection!

(It is almost Winter, after all…)

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Sunburst squash!

Bright, sunshine-y summer squash!

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Red Sunshine Kabocha!

Gorgeous!

 

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Nicolaaaaa!!!

Every season there’s an apple to get excited about!

The Nicola is mine this time ‘round…

super crunchy and sweet!

A few of our customers have said,

“These apples remind me of my childhood.”

Pretty good, hey?


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And lastly, Navel Oranges…so much citrus happening here at Disco!

+Continue reading Hot Shots!+
Randy Hooper - November 28, 2012
Category: Produce Update

We’re having great fun with our Fair Trade blueberry program. These come from a small producer near the Andes. Seasonal workers decide where the social premiums are spent. Their priorities – new kilns so local bricks can be made for housing, a community bakery, hundreds of pairs of shoes for children, free bicycles for community use. Another load of avocado leaves Michoacan tomorrow – this program is growing every week. We’ve asked for more bagged avocados, where sales continue to grow. Hot weather continues across Mexico, which is bringing everything on nicely, especially Cantaloupe and mini-melons. Price points are hot and quality superb on all melons. We’ve priced the larger sizes around the same price (per each) as smaller fruit – take advantage! We’ve already sold more Mandarins this year than all of last year, but supply will become “iffy” in about 10 days, with harvesting halted because of on-going torrential rains and flooding. The rest of the citrus category continues to gain momentum – a nice selection of beautiful Navels, early Desert Valencias, and Satsumas will soon be joined by a wider and wider selection. Prices will slowly come off as more districts start harvesting, although heavy rains over the next few days will impact producers from Bakersfield north. More CAPA

+Continue reading Interrupcion blueberries!+
Randy Hooper - November 14, 2012
Category: Produce Update

We finally have a price break for you on bananas. Lengthy and expensive government inspections have declined substantially, which were adding an average of 10% to our cost price. Everytime some bozo puts coke in a container somewhere in Latin America, inspections increase world-wide! We have excellent supply and lots on the water – no weather disasters, no port strikes – just smooth sailing. Our avocado sales continue to be strong – if there’s anything you need to promote Fair Trade avocado let us know – we’re always ready to step up with ad and in-store special pricing. The citrus scene is about to blow wide open, so start making room! Several new listings this week – Chinese mandarins are now in-stock, along with California Satsuma and Daisy Tangerines. (The Daisy is a taste explosion, and the mother variety that has been hybridized to create over a dozen other tangerine and tangelo varieties. The rest of the fruit selection continues to be stellar, with the exception of grapefruit where supply is virtually non-existent. That big heat wave that hit California basically stopped growth in its tracks, and set grapefruit production back 3 weeks (unless you want to buy 72 count.) That short 10 day gap on mango’s is over with the first Ecuador Ataulfo arriving tonight. Mango sales have doubled in North America over the past 3 years and it’s that demand that is driving prices in those lean times in the fall when Brazil and Ecuador just don’t have enough production. We continue to see very tight markets on many veg items. This is the worst we have seen it, with a perfect storm unraveling the market. There’s that big Thanksgiving day draw in the U.S., which never helps, and we’re transitioning quickly from coastal California (Salinas) to the desert (Imperial Valley / Yuma), except that the southern districts are starting 3 weeks late because it was just too damn hot to plant.

+Continue reading Bananarama!+
Randy Hooper - October 17, 2012
Category: Produce Update

There’s lots of fruit news today: Kiwi Berries are now in full harvest mode – expect these to become a year-round item soon. With so many rampant diseases affecting the larger Hayward (fuzzy) variety affecting producers in Chile and N.Z., growers there are switching hundreds of acres to this smaller traditional variety. Kids love these little grape sized kiwis – all the flavour, but no yucky skin! We were hoping we had overcome our Peru banana supply issues but we’ve had a container at port for 5 days while CBS takes their time looking for whatever they think they’ll find, like the 100 other containers we’ve had inspected, that didn’t have anything in them except bananas. So….Expect some shorts on the weekend. But after this, no problems as we continue to ramp up supply. Our Pragor avocados are amazing. Don’t forget the great deal we have going on 84 ct lugs – those are the same size as our normal 24 ct packout. The last California mango harvests are about done, and as usual, all the fruit is huge. Don’t be afraid – mango lovers will pay the price for these beauties, and when they are done in a couple of weeks, we will have the usual gap on organic before Ecuador fruit arrives. The pear selection continues to astound, with several new listings from Washington and the first of the B.C. Asian Pears and Bosc. Our CAPA pineapples are beautiful. These are the MD2 variety that are supersweet, and look fresh-cut for a long time. Enjoy these! We’re still receiving the last harvests of B.C. late plums. Italian’s are harvested 3-4 times as they don’t ripen evenly. Empress plums also will impress; these are the very very last BC plum to come off the trees. Asparagus is beautiful. This is going to be a nearly year-round category soon, with new production areas and techniques. This Argentina product is stunning, which will transition to Peru in a month. We’ve been selling Josie’s brand broccoli for months, and the quality just continues to impress the heck out of us.

+Continue reading New Pragor Coop avocados are in+