Inside this Food Report


October 1, 2013

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Hello Everyone,

Cooler weather , leaves turning red and yellow and it can only mean one thing, autumn is here and peak harvest is winding down in the Northwest and the United States in general. Corn yields in Oregon and Washington have been dwindling due to the cooler weather. However more importantly a severe wind storm ripped through the Pasco/Tri Cities area in middle September and many corn acres were lost. Please see more in our crop section below and you can also click on the following link to learn more.

At this writing another heavy wind and rain storm is ripping through Washington and Oregon State. In our upcoming issues we will give a more in depth assessment of the corn crop outcome here in the United States.

Flooding and Wind in Washington State

Weather conditions around the world have been volatile with flooding in the central part of Colorado causing deaths and loss of property . Typhoon Usagi (which is Japanese for rabbit) hurdled (or should we say hopped) through China’s southern province of Guangdong just missing neighboring and densely populated Hong Kong on September 22nd. The typhoon wreaked havoc on flight schedules in and around China and although Noon’s Jose and Chad arrived safely to Xiamen on Sunday , after many flight changes and delays, their luggage did not ! Typhoon Usagi also made it’s mark on areas of Taiwan and the Philippines.

As September comes to a close and harvest winds down, Noon members are getting ready to leave for Anuga being held in Cologne Germany October 5 through October 9th. Anuga is the world’s largest food and beverage exhibition and with it’s tagline this year of “Taste The Future” we are anxious to see and learn all the latest trends and themes of the food industry. We look forward to seeing many of our customers and suppliers at Anuga! Until next time Happy Autumn!

All the Best ,

Betty and the Noon International Team

CropVeggiesUnited States: Sweet corn harvest is winding down in the United States. Pacific Northwest harvest (Washington and Oregon) will be completed by middle/end October depending on weather conditions. Yields are dropping off a bit due to recent cooler night time temperatures and rain. There is under one third of the sweet corn crop left to be harvested and corn quality to this point has been very good. In middle September a wind storm ripped thought the Pasco /Tri Cities area of Washington State. Many processors lost acres. Including field/dent corn and sweet corn it is being reported that as many as 7,000 acres have been lost. It is also reported that some processers of sweet corn in this area have lost up to 1,000 acres of sweet corn. This will certainly firm up the sweet corn market in the United States.

The Idaho area is experiencing some bunching resulting in field yield and recovery tracking below plan. Idaho experienced above normal temperatures for this time of year. Irrigation water will be adequate for the season but reservoirs are low. Idaho sweet corn crop should be completed by early October.

Minnesota area has seen warmer than usual temperatures and above budget yields. Wisconsin sweet corn yields are beginning to drop due to lack of rain.

A warm summer slowed down the growth of Pacific Northwest potatoes, however cooler weather in September helped improve the yields. Most processors/fryers will have enough raw material to carry thorough to next season , however inventories are expected to be on the tight side. Also a recent issue of Potato Market News reported that for the most part growers in the Colombia Basin are disappointed with harvest results this season. Yields could fall as much as 20 cwt per acre which would reduce raw product supply for frozen processing by 3 – 4 million cwt.

Pea harvest in U.S is finished with disappointing yields resulting in a tight market with pricing firm.

Northwest baby whole carrot harvest completed and sliced carrots should be completed soon. Dice carrot processing in Oregon and Washington states will begin the last days of September/first week October. )

California peach harvest has been recorded as the third smallest crop in 50 years. Due to high heat in June peaches did not size up.

Mexico: Crops in the Bajio area of Mexico have suffered as a result of torrential summer rains. Crop damage is expected but to date there are no firm reports on the extent of the damage. High quality broccoli and cauliflower is expected to be low for the next few months.

Guatemala: Rainy season expected for another two months, however raw material will remain high for awhile longer and slowly reduce leading into the low season May/June. Broccoli quality remains good. Okra harvest is now underway.

Chile: Asparagus season is officially underway. As is typical, low volumes are being harvested until mid-October or so when full production picks up. Prices remain high, but processors fully anticipate demand still exceeding supply. Contracts are near completion.

Peru: The main asparagus season began late September. Most processors have completed all contracts, and first shipments will begin soon. Pricing is similar to last year. Many asparagus farms are reaching maturity across Peru. After 15 years of rapid growth, volumes of asparagus in Peru are expected to remain relatively stable in the coming few years. As a whole, Peru is expected to harvest slightly less volume in comparison to last year. Although early season weather has been favorable, which should result in better yields per hectare in comparison to 2012.

Argentina: The lemon season has wrapped up in the Tucuman (one of the world’s primary lemon growing regions). Overall, it was a successful season with exports to Europe and Asia increasing. Berry season is now underway with strawberries leading off, followed by raspberries and blueberries. Growers of blueberries in particular are anticipating it to be a difficult season due to frost in August which hurt the crop

Thailand: Winter pineapple harvest has begun. Crop expected to be smaller as farmers are growing other more profitable crops. Pricing is firming.

Europe: Dry weather in July and August has resulted in a disappointing raspberry crop in Poland. Serbia also has experienced a lower than normal crop season and prices in both Poland and Serbia are rising.

Overall, weather conditions were not favorable for European potatoes. After having a poor 2012 crop, there were high expectations for the 2013 crop. But very cool and wet weather persisted through late spring which delayed planting and also slowed early stage growth. This was followed by hot and dry conditions across much of the Benelux and Northern Germany (the primary potato regions). The above average temperatures, and lack of rainfall continued through early September and are resulting in slightly lower yields (3-5% less), than the 5 year average.

Corn on the other hand performs better in heat, and is less affected by the high temperatures. Yields are about average or just slightly under in parts of Western and Central Europe where little rainfall was received. Hungary in particular had a few long stretches of high heat with no rain which resulted in lower yields. Conditions were better in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia, where rainfall was more consistent.


Zhejiang Province:

Favorable weather and temperatures recently have been good for the crop growth in this area. Lotus root is under harvest and prices have fallen.
Broccoli and Cauliflower currently being planted. Shitake mushroom planting areas have been decreased and prices are rising. Quality of mushroom is average this season.

Fujian Province

Typhoon Usagi which arrived in middle September caused damage to the crops in this region. At this moment the full extent of damage is not known. Bamboo shoot production completed with good quality.
Autumn harvest for edamame has started . Broccoli growth to date has been steady and harvest is expected a little earlier than usual this season .

Shandong Province

Edamame harvest has begun and quality is good. Burdock is expected to seed early part of October.

Is Your Seafood Safe?

It is a well-known fact that seafood, especially fish, is a healthy diet option when compared to poultry or meat. Containing low levels of fats and high levels of protein, fish are ideal not only for maintaining a healthy body weight but also for preventing diseases such as cardiovascular syndrome, high blood pressure, diabetes to name a few. Fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help in preserving good eyesight and healthy brain tissue. Research has shown consumption of fish to reduce chances and/or severity of asthma, dementia, depression, certain cancers, and inflammatory conditions.

However, while all this is true, it is also important to make sure that the fish we consume are healthy and free of contaminants, both organic and inorganic.

A few weeks ago, researchers in Raleigh, North Carolina, tested seafood (primarily fish) sold in supermarkets in Raleigh for a specific contaminant called formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a common medical disinfectant and an embalming agent. It is also a known carcinogen – a substance that can cause cancer. Shockingly, they found that 25% of the samples they tested contained formaldehyde. On further investigation, they found that the tainted fish were imported from Asia – mostly China and Vietnam. They did not find any contamination in fish procured domestically, i.e., from US itself. The researchers do not claim that this locally performed experiment could be extrapolated to generalize seafood imports from Asian countries all contain formaldehyde.

Interestingly, the researchers were trying to validate a test that they had devised to check for presence of formaldehyde in fish. To this end, they bought domestic and imported fish from Raleigh supermarkets and aimed to contaminate them deliberately and then use their test to verify contamination. Imagine their shock when they found one in four of the samples already polluted with formaldehyde before the deliberate contamination.

What is truly alarming is that there is no test in place for checking for formaldehyde contamination in imported seafood; in fact, only about four percent of all imported seafood gets tested for any contaminant. These findings have raised concerns about adequate testing and safety measures by the FDA on seafood imports.

After the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, the Fukushima nuclear reactor was destroyed in the following tsunami. There were widespread fears, even until recently, that cesium from the nuclear plant would have tainted the fish in the surrounding ocean waters. However, scientists have assured Americans that there is no cesium contamination in fish bought from Japan for US consumption.

The FDA has also pledged to be extra vigilant in testing and inspection of fish imported from foreign countries. Nevertheless, contamination with toxic chemicals will remain a matter of concern and caution until foolproof methods are in place to check them.

Why Should You Go Banana’s?

The humble banana may look like a plain Jane compared to the exotic pineapple, the luscious mango and or the glossy orange, but don’t let its appearance fool you. The banana is a veritable powerhouse of nutritive and beneficial qualities. How? Check this out.

  1. An average banana provides about 100 calories of energy. Need instant energy before a workout? Hunger pangs growing an hour before mealtime? Reach for a banana….

  2. The banana is the wonder fruit when it comes to your gut feeling, literally. Being fiber-rich, it helps in relieving constipation; due to its high potassium content, it helps restore the electrolyte balance after diarrhea.

  3. It relieves leg cramps – both, exercise-related and nighttime cramps.

  4. Bananas contain fructooligosaccharides, which promote growth of probiotic bacteria. These bacteria help to increase absorption of calcium. Better calcium absorption results in better bone health.

  5. The pectin in bananas leaches out cholesterol and toxins from the body, thus improving digestion.

  6. The mood elevator hormone serotonin is produced from the amino acid, tryptophan, which is found in high amounts in bananas. Thus bananas can be good for beating the blues.

  7. Tryptophan is also a precursor for the sleep hormone melatonin. So it may be a good idea to have a banana at bedtime to promote a good night’s sleep.

  8. There is about 470 mg potassium in a banana and about one mg of sodium. This combination makes it an ideal food for reducing blood pressure and risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

  9. The vitamin B6 in bananas helps to fight infections and regulate blood sugar.

  10. Anemia could be fought with regular use of bananas; they have moderate amounts of iron and folate. Folate also prevents birth defects such as spina bifida.

  11. If you suffer from acidity or stomach ulcers, bananas are good for you. They contain short-chain fatty acids which improve the health of the stomach lining, thus also improving absorption of nutrients. They act as natural antacids by coating the inside of the stomach.

  12. Studies have shown that inclusion of bananas in diet improves kidney health and reduces chances of kidney cancer.

  13. Antioxidants such as manganese abound in bananas. They help fight free radicals and provide overall good health.

  14. It is well known that bananas have good amounts of Vitamin C, thus helping the immune system fight diseases and also for healthy skin and eyes.

  15. The plantain – a variant of the banana family – is usually cooked as a vegetable. It contains high levels of beta-carotene which is helpful in maintaining good vision.

  16. Apart from the above dietary reasons, bananas (and their peels) can be very handy in the following ways too:

  17. The inside of a banana peel, when rubbed on an insect bite or an itch, is an effective soothing agent.

  18. To remove a wart, try taping the banana peel to it, with the inside touching the wart.

  19. Banana peels can be great polishing agents! Rub your leather or silver with the peel and wipe off with a soft cloth for that ‘like-new’ shine.

  20. Finally, for those who have quit smoking or are trying to do so, bananas can be helpful because the B vitamins, potassium and magnesium in them can diminish withdrawal symptoms.

Happy 200th Birthday, Commercial Metal Can!

For most of us, the metal can has been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember! It has been such an integral part of our daily life that often we forget about when, where, how and why the can was invented. This year – 2013 – the metal can celebrates its 200th anniversary in commercial production. Today, about 200 billion cans of food are produced annually worldwide; it is an $8 billion industry in the United States.

While many of us know the history and reasons the metal can was invented, we wanted to take a minute and remind everyone how important the discovery and invention of the metal can was, and still is today.

During the Napoleonic wars towards the end of the 18th century, soldiers were getting sick eating rancid food as well as dying of starvation on the battlefield. For this reason, Napoleon announced a contest: anyone who developed a way to keep food fresh would win 12,000 francs ($7 million today).

Around 1809, Frenchman Nicolas Appert researched and developed experimental food preservation in glass as part of this contest. He was successful, thus inventing hermetically sealed processed food in glass jars! Unfortunately, glass jars could not be carried and transported in the battlefield very well!

In 1810, Peter Durand from England developed a tin can to preserve food. Each can was individually filled, then soldered shut and cooked in a bath of boiling water. In 1810, Appert was awarded the 12,000 francs.

In 1812, the first cannery was built in London by Bryan Donkin and John Hall and the first commercial can was produced. The canning industry begins!

Other landmark dates for the metal can
1812: Englishman Thomas Kensett sells oysters, meat and fruit in tin cans. Patent granted for this process in 1825.

1836: The William Underwood Company shifts from glass to metal cans for its famous Deviled Ham Spread.

1856: Gail Borden, Jr. starts selling condensed milk in cans, the demand of which increases during the American Civil War.

1850s: The first can openers are invented: Robert Yeates, in 1955, devises the claw-shaped can opener in UK, and Ezra Warner, in 1958, patents the sickle-shaped opener in the US. Up until this point, soldiers used their bayonets to open tin cans.

1875: Libby’s begins selling canned corn beef.

1926: The famous canned ham, Spam, arrives in cans in US stores.

1930: Beer is marketed in cans. (Six-packs were eventually introduced in 1973.)

1933: Motor oil is sold in cans.

1940: Sodas (carbonated soft drinks) appear in stores in cans.

1962: The “pull-tab” on cans introduced, making it very easy to open cans without using can openers.

1972: Low acid canned food regulations implemented by the FDA.

2013: 200-year anniversary of the metal can in commercial use!

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