Alberta Direct Market Average Fruit and Vegetable Prices - 2016-2017

 
  Hort Snacks - May 2017
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 Introduction | Fruit Prices | Vegetable Prices - Part 1 | Vegetable Prices - Part 2 | Vegetable Prices - Part 3 | 2017 Growing Season – Prices Changes / Adjustments

Introduction

A number of farms contributed their pricing information, with a wide range in size, diversity and operational focus. As well, prices reported on producer websites were added into the pricing dataset, if they did not represent duplication. Some data was contributed by a visitor to several different farmers’ markets.

Most prices are reported per pound (for fruit and most vegetables), however many fruit farms charge on a volume basis (often 4L pail or smaller containers for certain fruit e.g. raspberries) or on a per unit basis (for a number of vegetable crops – e.g. per head, per bag, per bunch). For the purposes of comparison, the price per pound was calculated assuming 5 pounds per pail for all fruit; however, the actual weight of fruit per volume can vary. In converting prices to a “per pound” basis, it was assumed that 1 pint is equal to 0.625 pounds. The price per pound varied according to the container size, with some producers offering a range of container sizes for some pre-picked fruit. In this case, an average price was generated to use in comparisons with other farms. In cases of vegetable pricing, producers reporting a price per pound for a product were compared with producers reporting similarly, whereas producers reporting in a price per unit were compared with other similar reported data. Data was not compared between reported weight and volume datasets. Where possible, the u-pick and the pre-pick (pre-picked on-farm sales and/or p-p farmer’s market sales, etc.) prices are reported.

Many producers offer a volume discount (sometimes with several different prices for different volumes) or include a price adjustment for customers bringing pails/containers or charge a fee for pails. The average price discount or charge for a 4L pail was $1. Some producers also make some price adjustments for early or late crops, depending on the crop.

Not all of the data contributed could be reported, as there was insufficient data to create a quality range &/or average. The number of data points comprising a dataset is included (e.g. n=x). If three or more data points were available, both a range and an average were reported. The higher the N-value, the stronger the data set. While the prices reported represent a range, there may be significant variation within the range. As a result, the median value was also included (for the fruit crops only), which represents the middle value of the dataset. Producers should consider their individual, specific costs of production, as well as their customers and markets when setting their prices. Use the prices as a guide only, and do not make adjustments to price, simply because you are lower than the average. In a number of areas, prices appear to be reaching the limit of what the market will bear, for the time being.

For the 2017 season, a number of producers were considering a price increase to account for increased costs of production (including labour, taxes, etc.). A number of producers are offering a range of prices and offerings, such as different volumes, fresh/frozen, washed/unwashed, delivered/pick up, etc., depending on the product.

Fruit Prices

Strawberries
Marketing Generalities
Strawberries were often sold on a U-pick basis; however producers are also selling pre-picked berries at the farmers’ markets or on-farm. Volume of container was typically 4L pail/basket; however more, smaller container options are appearing (mainly for pre-picked product).

U-pick (n=9)
Pre-Pick (n=11)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
$2.70 - $5.0
$3.61
$3.35
$4.0 - $10.0
$5.54
$5.0
Comments
There did not tend to be a huge difference in price between pre-picked product that was sold on-farm and Farmers’ market product.
Raspberries
Marketing Generalities
Raspberries were most often U-picked, with some pre-picked (farm gate / farmer’s market) sales. A number of farms did not pre-pick raspberries.

U-pick (n=11)
Pre-Pick (n=5)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
$2.2 – $5.56
$3.67
$3.85
$4.0 - $5.0
$4.8
$5.0
Comments
Prices per pound varied with container size. The labour of picking raspberries for sale can be significant.
Saskatoon Berries
Marketing Generalities
Saskatoon berries were often sold U-picked, however many farms offer pre-picked fruit. Pre-pick prices most often were more than u-pick prices, depending on the operation and how they were packaged. It was not always reported whether pre-picked sales were fresh or frozen, although it can be assumed that immediate sales were fresh, with later sales certainly frozen. Prices varied with different volumes of product sold. Value added product was not included, but would feature prominently in most operations.
U-pick (n=13)
Pre-Pick (n=15)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median (price per pound)
$2.0 - $5.0
$2.89
$3.0
$3.5 - $6.0
$4.42
$4.0
Comments
-
Sour Cherries
Marketing Generalities
Limited prices reported
U-pick (n=4)
Pre-Pick (n=4)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
$2.0 - $5.0
$3.0
$2.5
$2.0 – $3.5
$2.75
$2.75
Comments
Equal number of u-pick versus pre-pick reported; In past years, some variation in price due to pitted versus not pitted. In some cases, there was a price difference depending on the type of sour cherry (related to quality, size, etc.)
Haskap (Blue honeysuckle)
Marketing Generalities
Limited prices reported. All were for u-pick. Many more acres coming on, with markets variable and specific to each producer.
U-pick (n=3)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
$3.0 - $5.0
$4.5
$5.0
Comments
-
Rhubarb
Marketing Generalities
Limited prices reported.
U-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (n=6)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Median
(price per pound)
$2.0 - $2.5
$2.21
$2.13
$2.0 – $5.0
$2.97
$2.63
Comments
Prices varied quite a bit.

Vegetable Prices - Part 1
U-pick (n-3)
Pre-Pick (n=4)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Markets) (n=3)
Beans
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$1.75 - $2.3
$2.1
$2.5 - $5.0
$3.62
$4.0 - $6.0
$4.67
Comments
Prices did not seem to vary between colour or type of bean sold.
U-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (n=4)
Beets
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$1.5 - $2.25
1.92
$2.25 - $4.0
$3.03
Comments
-
Pre-pick (n=4)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=7)
Beets, bunched
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$2.5 - $4.0
$3.2
$1.5 - $5.0
$3.71
Comments
-
U-pick (n=5)
Pre-Pick (n=7)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Markets) (n=7)
Carrots
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$1.5 - $2.5
$1.95
$0.75 - $3.25
$2.06
$1.0 - $4.0
$2.51
Comments
Some price variation depending on time of year, product size (higher price for smaller) and package volume.
Pre-picked (n=5)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=3)
Carrots (bunched)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
$2.5 - $3.75
$3.02
$3.0 - $4.0
$3.67
Comments
-
Pre-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (n=3)
Cucumbers, Pickling
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$1.5 - $3.25
$2.25
$1.5 - $2.0
$1.83
Comments
-
U-pick
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=3)
Garlic (bulb/head)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per pound)
Too few reported
-
$1.0 - $4.0
$2.67
Comments
Size of head/bulb will vary.
Pre-pick (n=4)
Pre-Pick (n=4)
Kale
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per bag)
Average
(price per bag)
$5.78 - $8.25
$6.91
$2.25 - $3.0
$2.67
Comments
Unit size varied.

Vegetable Prices - Part 2
Lettuce, Head – Pre-pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=4)
Lettuce, Bagged – Pre-Pick (Famers’ Market) (n=8)
Lettuce
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
$3.0 - $3.5
$3.13
$2.0 - $3.5
$2.88
Comments
-
U-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (n=4)
Onions, Bulb
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$1.13 - $1.5
$1.25
$1.5 - $1.89
$1.76
Comments
-
U-pick
Pre-Pick (n=3)
Onions, bulb (bunched)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Too few reported
-
$1.68 - $3.0
$2.12
Comments
-
Pre-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=7)
Onions, Green
Range
(price per bunch)
Average
(price per bunch)
Range
(price per bunch)
Average
(price per bunch)
$1.68 - $2.50
$1.98
$0.75 - $4.0
$2.54
Comments
Size of bunch varied
U-pick (n =3)
Pre-Pick (n=4)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=9)
Peas
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$2.0 - $2.5
$2.17
$3.5 - $5.0
$4.27
$1.67 - $6.5
$3.64
Comments
-
U-pick (n=7)
Pre-Pick (n=12)
Potatoes, mature
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$0.80 - $1.75
$1.19
$0.50 - $2.5
$1.64
Comments
Prices vary within season but also depending on volume (lower price for higher volumes).
U-pick (n =3)
Pre-Pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (Farmers’ Market) (n=10)
Potatoes, baby/new
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
$1.75 - $2.0
$1.92
$2.0 - $2.5
$2.33
$1.6 - $3.5
$2.42
Comments
-
U-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick
Pumpkins
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
$1.5 - $25.0
$9.83
Too few reported
-
Comments
Price varies widely with size.
Per pound – Pre-pick (n=3)
Bag/bunch – Pre-Pick (n=6)
Radish
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
$2.5 - $3.0
$2.73
$0.75 - $3.0
$2.17
Comments
-
Vegetable Prices - Part 3
U-pick
Pre-Pick (n=3)
Rutabaga
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
Too few reported
-
$0.75 - $3.0
$2.17
Comments
-
U-pick (n=3)
Pre-Pick (n=6)
Spinach
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Too few reported
-
$2.0 - $8.38
$5.7
Comments
-
Per pound – Pre-pick (n=5)
Bagged – Pre-Pick (n=3)
Swiss Chard
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
$3.0 - $7.54
$5.19
$2.0 - $2.93
$2.48
Comments
Sold in a range of package sizes, bunches, etc.
Per pound – Pre-pick (n=3)
Each – Pre-Pick (n=4)
Zucchini
Range
(price per pound)
Average
(price per pound)
Range
(price per unit)
Average
(price per unit)
$2.0 - $2.1
$2.07
$1.0 - $3.0
$2.06
Comments
Size of unit varies

2017 Growing Season – Prices Changes / Adjustments

For the 2017 growing season, many producers were increasing their prices slightly, typically due to factors such as increased input costs, labour costs, taxes, etc. Price changes tend to be minimal and often can after holding prices the previous year. Similar to previous years, price increases (or lack of increase) were scattered across the province and varied considerably. Some producers shift prices throughout the growing season, as influenced by supply, demand and/or rarity of a particular product, particularly in reference to early harvests.

Producers continue to vary in how they charge for fruit, with many charging per pound, but a fair number charging a flat rate for a fixed container (volume) size, typically small volume containers (e.g. pint). Price per pound was more common in the vegetables; however it depended very much on the type of vegetable. U-pick was less common than pre-pick in the data reported again this year. Pre-picked fruit product sold at the Farmers’ markets was typically sold in containers by volume, but that varied. Per unit pricing of vegetables was likely due to simplicity of marketing and packaging, rather than having to deal with wide ranges of weights.

Most producers charge for pails / containers or provide a discount to customers that bring their own containers. It was mentioned regularly that a charge for containers would be added for u-pickers (noted on numerous websites). More common this year was the addition of a per head charge for entry to an orchard, regardless of volume/quantity picked. Some refer to this as a grazing fee.

A number of u-pick pricing was dependant on the number of pails picked/purchased and vegetable sale prices were usually dependant on the quantity purchased. Some producers charge for a delivery service if that is something that they provide. On-line orders/sales option is appearing on a number of producer websites; however the details of this were not delved into.

The number of Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) operations continues to increase, with many direct market operations offering this as an option in addition to their other direct market delivery channels (e.g. u-pick, FM). In many cases, this is the only option that is provided. The cost of the various products compared to other market channels is difficult to compare and CSA share prices vary greatly, both in terms of price and the number of weeks that are available.

It is evident that great care and attention must be given to input costs, cost of labour, transportation and to what prices the market will bear, related to other producers, retail pricing, etc.
 
 
 
 
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on April 27, 2017.