Is has definitely been a challenging Summer dealing with adverse weather conditions and the annual crop reductions associated with NDF that occur the heaviest in July and August. It looks like we’re starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel with NDF slowly coming to a close through August. This will mean that we’ll start to see harvest numbers increase slowly and the consistency of quality begin to improve especially with translucency. By the time we get to mid-September we should be back to normal production and quality levels. In the short-term, sizing will be trending towards the smaller fruit with the bigger fruit not increasing until the beginning of September.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, we’re expecting quality to be very good and should have strong fruit available for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. One factor to keep an eye on is that we’re seeing quite a bit of overall acreage in Costa Rica going into production with its second crop meaning sizing will be smaller than normal. There will be more 7’s and 8’s during the Fall and less 5’s and 6’s then in past years.
Logistics continues to be extremely difficult as ship capacity and container availability remains extremely tight resulting in higher freight costs going from Costa Rica to the key ports in Florida, Texas, the Northeast, and to California. The industry has tried to keep the prices stable in the markets but as ocean rates and trucking fees continue to rise, this will definitely trickle down to the market prices as growers like ourselves can’t continue to absorb the additional costs.
Pineapple imports into the U.S. will continue to be very light as the main production area in Veracruz State continues to deal with the annual NDF period in that growing zone. This time of year, quality control is extremely challenging as minimal brix levels of 13 tend to be very difficult to achieve due to the extreme growing conditions. The good news is that all of our farms are indicating that quality will start to improve the beginning of September and by October we should see strong production numbers and very good quality. This will allow for promotions during the important Fall holiday time periods and the sizing curve will see bigger sizes than what we’re expecting out of Costa Rica.