OPN Connect Newsletter 345 · November 9, 2023

Standard Thanksgiving Organic Fare in Decent Supply

With the Thanksgiving pull just starting to occur, organic suppliers and wholesalers reported that the most popular produce items for the upcoming holiday are in pretty good supply.

Joe Eisinger, who handles organic purchasing and sales for Nathel & Nathel on New York’s Hunts Point Market, said organic potatoes and sweet potatoes have no supply issues. He noted that organic cranberries are available in limited supply. However, it is not a heavy-demand item, so he has sufficient supplies to fill his orders. Celery is another Thanksgiving staple for which demand goes up at the holidays. “We haven’t had an issue getting organic celery but the [FOB] price is ticking up a bit.”

Joe Eisinger, Purchasing and Sales, Nathel & Nathel

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On the short side, Eisinger said organic carrot suppliers are “snug,” and the organic packaged French beans that Nathel & Nathel sells are also in short supply. “There are French beans available if you’ve made commitments [in advance], but there is no excess supply,” he said. “If you haven’t already ordered them, it is going to be very difficult to get them for Thanksgiving.”

Being located on the East Coast and in close proximity to his customers, Eisinger said his Thanksgiving pull won’t start in earnest until Wednesday of next week [November 15].

“There are French beans available if you’ve made commitments [in advance], but there is no excess supply. If you haven’t already ordered them, it is going to be very difficult to get them for Thanksgiving.” - Joe Eisinger

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Another organic wholesale market veteran, Senior Produce Buyer Ethan Abendroth of Earl’s Organic Produce on the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, commented on the Thanksgiving supply situation from his West Coast perch.

Going down the list of popular Thanksgiving commodities, he started with organic cranberries. “We have good supply and are anticipating no gaps through Thanksgiving,” he said. “We offer organic cranberries in bulk and also have two retail packs.”

Ethan Abendroth, senior buyer for Earl's Organic Produce

Abendroth added that this year’s price point is about 8 percent higher than last year, in line with inflation. He did say that fresh, organic cranberries will most likely be out of stock for the Christmas pull, so freezer packs will carry the load.

“We have good supply [of organic cranberries] and are anticipating no gaps through Thanksgiving." - Ethan Abendroth

Abendroth said both organic green beans and organic carrots are in short supply as they typically are at this time of year due to demand outpacing supply. Although he added that while finished carrot packs are scarce, Earl’s does have a good supply of organic bunch carrots, including different colors, from a cadre of local growers.

“The organic celery market features good quality and strong supplies for Thanksgiving,” he said, adding that Earl’s is getting promotional volume and pricing from its main supplier, though at a higher price point than last season.

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He offered that there are no supply issues with organic sweet potatoes as the new crop, which Earl’s sources from California, has started shipping.

He added that another popular Thanksgiving vegetable is organic asparagus, with sufficient supplies still coming from Mexico to fill demand.

On the fruit end of the Thanksgiving cornucopia, Abendroth said both organic apples and pears are in excellent supply. The California table grape season is expected to last through Thanksgiving and run into the Christmas holiday season, especially with organic green grape varieties.

“The organic celery market features good quality and strong supplies for Thanksgiving." - Ethan Abendroth

Darrell Beyer of Bluebird Mountain Organics in Reno, Nevada, said, said most organic vegetable items are in pretty good supply two weeks out from Thanksgiving. In fact, he was looking forward to the increase in demand starting next week.  “Most of my items are doing pretty good right now,” he said, noting that the category needs a shot in the arm after a slow October.

Darrell Beyer, founding partner at Bluebird Mountain Organics

Beyer was particularly happy with the organic broccoli market. “Today [Tuesday, Nov. 7] it’s in the mid to high $20s, and I expect a boost next week.”

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He said some rain in the Oxnard area should combine with the Thanksgiving pull to increase the FOB price. “But I will still have very good supplies,” he offered.

On many other solid Thanksgiving produce items, including organic beets, parsley, kale, and green onions, Beyer said there are steady FOB markets ranging from the high teens to the low $20s depending upon the item. He noted the organic vegetable market will see more supplies after Thanksgiving as production increases from the winter vegetable regions, including Oxnard, the Arizona and California deserts, and Mexico.

Michael Boskovich of Boskovich Farms in Oxnard, California, also commented on several organic vegetable items. “We have seen an uptick in the celery market,” he said, noting that both conventional and organic celery are trading in the low $20s at shipping point. He said it is the high demand for celery during the Thanksgiving holiday period that has led to the similar pricing for both categories.

Michael Boskovich, Organic Sales for Boskovich Farms

Boskovich said that same demand has created a strong market for several other organic commodities, including radishes, green onions, and beets.

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