Inside this Food Report



June 1, 2012

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Hello Everyone,

We mentioned months ago that before you know it we will be standing in the pea and cornfields and sure enough green pea harvest will commence this month and Noon members will be visiting pea fields in middle June.    All indications point to a normal pea crop in the Northwest.  Please read more below in our crop section.  

In May Noon members attended the Sial China Exhibition in Shanghai where we learned that the top five appealing items in China are grocery items, snack/confectionary, meat, diary and wine.  The pavilions were filled with cookies, biscuits, crackers and chocolate, honey, canned foods and spaghetti.   We observed many confectionary products geared towards children as well as ketchup, which we had not seen in China before.   It seemed that the Chinese attendee’s had a high trust level for imported food items as previously observed in baby food and milk products but now seen in all types of grocery products.  Food safety and a willingness to try Western food was a common theme and the majority of the shows energy was focused on food imports into China instead of selling Chinese made products.   The exhibition certainly taught us that China is shifting and becoming more accepting of the western diet.  

While some members attended the Sial Exhibition I had the pleasure to visit Italy where all food is cooked fresh using lots of vegetables, legumes, and fish.   It reminded me how healthy and energetic one can feel eating a fresh diet using no preservatives.   Well I cannot lie; I did have a bit of wine, but what the heck you have to have a little fun once in a while!


Betty and the Noon International Team


United States: Pea harvest in the Northwest is anticipated to start the first week of June.  Weather in April was wet and cool.   May has proven to be much warmer and dryer. All conditions thus far indicate pea harvest will start on schedule and yields and quality will be good.  Planting of corn should be completed by the end of June. Many suppliers are budgeting a larger pack for 2012 crop to account for the very tight supply experienced in 2011.  Potatoes for processing are currently in tight supply waiting for the new crop to commence in July. Processors on the east coast of the US and Canada are experiencing a tight inventory as well.

Mexico: Mid day temperatures throughout May have risen to 33 degrees C causing a lemon color in broccoli and some overdevelopment in the heads from lack of water.    Cauliflower has been affected by the high temperatures as well.   Mexico is waiting for the rainy season to begin in June and rains normally continue through August.

Chile: Chile is approaching winter as agriculture is winding down after a busy year.  Asparagus supply was very tight this season.  Supply was limited after cool and wet weather delayed the start of the harvest. Coupled with very strong global demand, suppliers struggled to meet customer’s shipments.   Berries followed, with decent yields and good quality taking the berry harvest through April.  Finally, suppliers are finishing up the season with kiwis, which should run through most of May.  Volumes and yields have been reported as good. Some kiwi product is still available to contract, although availability is quickly decreasing.
Peru: Peru is primarily focusing on avocado production.    Depending on the supplier avocados are being harvested and processed every day.  Avocado trees go through cycles, with every few year’s being an “off year” for yields.   This season the yield per hectare is down sometimes as much as 40% as it is an “off year” for some suppliers.  Availability will be limited.   Processors are anticipating this year to be another difficult one in terms of availability for asparagus.   Due to increased global demand asparagus supply is expected to remain tight with processors focusing to supply their current customers.

Guatemala: Broccoli season in Guatemala is completed and will resume again late June /early July depending on weather.

Ecuador: Conditions have been stable. Broccoli volumes have been consistent, with no quality issues.

Edamame harvest is late June through July in Zhejiang and Jiangxi province.   Heavy rain after seeding led to some loss of plants, specifically in Jiangxi’s organic growing areas.  Some locations in Jiangxi may see yields up to 40% lower than expected.

Green Bean
Harvest is expected to start the last week of May and go through mid June.  So far the crop is looking good.  Pricing is expected to stay stable although buyers were probably hoping for some decreases after last year’s increased pricing.

Pea Pods
Harvest has finished in Zhejiang.  Quality is good and condition is better than last year. However, on average the pods are thicker than last year, thicker meaning the % of pods above 6mm diameter.  Pricing is expected to decrease compared to last year due to high inventories of 2011 crop still remaining in Japan.

Sugar Snap Peas
Harvest in Zhejiang has been completed.    Quality is good but yield is very low.  The sugar snap pea plants are in good condition but a majority of the flowers only produced 1 pod per flower instead of the usual 2 pods per flower.

Plantings were delayed this year due to heavier than expected rains in March.   Growing continues to go well.  In the Fujian region, the harvest is expected to start in June and last the entire month.

Keeping Our Food Safe

Safe spraying of fields made possible by chemistry.

The United States has one of the world’s safest food and water supplies and chemistry plays a very important part in keeping our food safe.    From chlorine and soap used as disinfectants to atmospheric packaging chemistry plays a major role in keeping what we eat safe.

Pests are one of the biggest culprits in agriculture and growers are able to use chemical compounds to eradicate a number of diseases that can be left behind from insects and bugs.    The properties of plastic allow our food supply to be sealed and protected from the outside elements such as air and grime, greatly enhancing the safety and shelf life of the product.   Many foods can be packaged in a gaseous atmosphere replacing air with nitrogen and carbon dioxide, which prevents mold and spoilage caused by a number of various microbes.  

It is estimated by the World Health Organization that dirty water sickens and kills approximately 6,000 people each year.   The most effective tool against waterborne bacteria is chlorine. Chemistry, and water treatment facilities and food processors worldwide depend on this basic element to keep our food safe.

Refrigeration, which keeps our food cool and frozen, is also a product of chemistry in its plastic tubing and chemical refrigerants.

Government agencies and manufactures are continually working together to enhance scientific understanding and advancements in chemical safety.   There are many measures in place to keep our food safe and chemistry is a vital part of a protected food supply.

The Powerful Pea!

The small round green vegetable you wanted absolutely nothing to do with as a child is actually packed with a powerful nutritional punch. Loaded with anti-inflammatory nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin C, E and zinc the green pea is a rather understudied super food.  

The green pea has a starchy texture but is sweet inside.   It has often been referred to as a “starchy vegetable” but there is much more to the green pea than starch.    For example, you’ve heard of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in fish but we were surprised to learn that green peas contain about 30 milligrams of omega-3’s per cup in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).   Peas also contain high levels of macronutrients including protein and fiber, approximately 10 grams per cup for each. Because of these high levels of macronutrients green peas have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by steadying blood sugar levels.

Green peas are not only good for you but great for the environment and farming.  Green peas are in a category of crops referred to as “nitrogen fixing”.  Peas have the ability to pull nitrogen gas from the air and convert it into more complex and usable forms. This process creates more nitrogen availability in the soil and in turn requires less fertilizer. Additionally, rotating your crops with peas have been shown to lower the risk of pest problems and the shallow root structure helps to prevent soil erosion.

Why not make peas a regular part of your diet for both the nutritional value they provide as well as their environmental desirability.   

The Heavy Toll of Diet Related Diseases

What we eat is so important to our overall health.   We took the below statistics directly from the United States Department of Agriculture.

  • Did you know that 37 percent of the American population ,which is approximately 81.1 million people, has some form of cardiovascular disease?

  • 16 percent of the U.S. adult population has high total blood cholesterol.

  • 34 percent of American adults have hypertension, abnormally high blood pressure.  An additional 36 percent have prehypertension meaning higher than normal blood pressure.  

  • 24 million American people over the age of 20 have diabetes, the majority being type II which is directly influenced by diet and physical activity.  Another 78 million people are in the pre-stages for the disease having extremely high blood glucose levels.

These are staggering and very frightening numbers.  To see a full report and ways you can prevent becoming part of these statistics please view the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  The link is below.  And please don’t forget to eat your fruits and vegetables which will certainly play a part to keep you healthy!

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