What I learned at the New York Produce show
Good morning and Happy Sunday and also a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my little girl Alexis whom turns 18 on the 18th and who has an extremely proud father.
Check my FB page tonight. I will be live on the BEST block you have ever seen with Christmas lights. It is my old neighborhood in Brooklyn and you will not believe your eyes.. 5 or 6 PM NYC time.
I am now sitting in my Hotel room reflecting on the NY produce show. The first thing that comes to mind is the humbling experience of all the people that introduced themselves to me and told me how much they enjoyed these reports and that they followed me all of the time and to keep it up. What was really a revelation is the fact most of these people were in their 20’s and 30’s and they get it. My comments to them as they are to you remain the same and is also my mission statement “ To marry some old school ideas with the new school technology to advance produce in omni channel marketing. After speaking to many young professionals, I believe they will move the industry in that direction.
I met some of my long-time customers. Let me preface this story. I always try to help anyone if I can in the produce business, so if a market was red hot and short and I have enough to cover my regular trade, I would help anyone I would even if you were an old, new or a customer that I knew I would probably never hear from again when the market cooled off. The later gets one chance, I am nice but not an idiot. J So, I met one of these intermittent customers, that I have helped several times when they were hot, but they also reciprocated when the market was long. It was clear to me not because they said it but I could feel it, that I would not get another order. Why? Because after several months of asking to get paid $12,000, jumping through hoops, resubmitting invoices, many calls going unanswered, I finally threw my hands up and called the blue book and then the $12,000 was paid promptly. So, I lost a customer and my only felony was wanting to get paid when they tried to commit grand theft larceny. Out of respect for our long-time connection I will not divulge their name.
Did any of you see the NEW YORK TIMES building on 40th street? Well if you did you would notice a tall building on the corner and as you went down 40th Street a 4-story building adjoining it. Well over 40 years ago that was METS parking garage and that is where I started my produce career. My father rented 4 parking spaces in the front, now a sushi restaurant,(pictured) and with 2 four by eight-foot plywood and lots of milk crates we transformed those parking spaces into a fruit store every day. At its height we sold 2 eighteen-foot box trucks of produce their everyday in 4 to 6 hours. No flyers, no internet, no newspaper ads not even a store just some old-fashioned producing selling knowledge, great displays made with produce not RPC boxes and great prices. There is a method to my madness.
As I mentioned on Wednesday on my video from the NY produce show, the lack of demand these last 2 weeks has been in control of the markets. I usually like to see an uptick in buying starting on the second Wednesday after Thanksgiving, it didn’t occur. If it does not happen this coming week, we are not going to have a very merry Christmas, but I do believe it Is on its way.
RED PEPPERS – This market has not performed in a few weeks the way I thought it would and there are several reasons for this, some self-inflicted and some due to lack of demand and outside competition. First the self-inflicted. California reds and early Mexican reds were being shipped with green streak, small size and that is never a good scenario. Buyers are not paying a premium for a mixed red pepper, which could be bought from the South at a fraction of the cost. To make matters worse there was a lack of demand coupled with 11# reds with full color being sold for $1 a pound in the terminals at a time when off color California and Mexican reds were a $1 a pound fob. Not a good scenario but the good news if we have normal demand for this holiday week we should see 15# reds be in that $24 to $26 range at the Terminal level and $30 plus on choice.
YELLOW PEPPERS Too many a race to the bottom.
GREEN PEPPERS – We will need a huge shift in demand to clean up these supplies and I don’t think that is in the cards. Green peppers are from $8 to $12 fob and we might just be spinning wheels at the market level.
EGGPLANTS – Seems like the volume has really come on and the prices re dropping like a rock. Many, many deals, this market is going to be cheap.
GREEN SQUASH – The terminals never reflected the high fob on this market for the past few weeks for two reasons. The quoted fob was fake and did not reflect the supplies and the lack of demand. Prices have come off further and terminals will be in the $14-12 on Fancy green squash
YELLOW SQUASH Same deal here but with higher price both FOB and Terminals $18-$20
ROMA TOMATOES – First I have to ask the retailers in Arkansas, Ohio, California, Chicago, New York and all the other states, how is that new suspension agreement working out d=for you when it comes to tomato prices? Maybe you should call your congressman and Senators and tell them that while helping 3 families you are hurting almost 300 million consumers with high priced produce?
Tomatoes have been short for several weeks and prices are extremely high. This past week there seems to be more available which should hopefully modulate this market lower but that may still be 2 weeks away.
AVOCADOS – Market is steady as she goes, mid to high 30’s at the terminals
ACORN SQUASH - SHORT all other Hard squash is steady