Shipping Broccoli, Peaches, & Pears (with Jeff Lair) | Episode 243

Freight 360

May 10, 2024

In this episode of our podcast, Jeff Lair from Produce Blue Book returns for an appearance to offer his expert insights into the produce supply chain, focusing on the seasonal nuances of commodities like broccoli, peaches, and pears. We dive into the  impact of AI and provide a detailed analysis of the produce supply chain. Jeff also shares essential tips on freight brokerage, the benefits of Produce Blue Book’s resources for credit monitoring and lead generation, and strategies for handling temperature-sensitive shipments. Throughout the episode, we also touch on current sports highlights and the challenges of adapting to new software, making this a comprehensive guide for thriving in the world of produce for freight brokers.

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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Speaker 1: 0:19

Welcome back everyone for another episode of the Freight 360 podcast. Today's a special one, like most of ours. We've got a guest. We'll get to in just a minute here. First, please take a moment to hit the subscribe button if you haven't done so already. We're available across many platforms, whether it's YouTube, Spotify, Apple, etc. Leave a review, leave a comment. Those are the questions we answer. Every final mile episode we do.

Speaker 1: 0:46

That comes out Tuesdays and make sure to share us with all of your friends in the industry. And if you'd like to learn more about our company and all of our content, you can go right to You'll be able to sign up for our free, twice a week newsletter full of good content, and you'll also find the Freight Broker Basics course on our website as well. That's our full length educational option that'll teach everything from how to get started in brokerage, grow your customer base, network with carriers and even hire the right employees. Well, without further ado, we have done many episodes with Blue Book and specifically, we've got Jeff Lair back, for I don't, Jeff, you've been with us a bunch of times now, but you're with Produce Blue Book. Welcome back to the show. How are you, sir Good?

Speaker 2: 1:32

Good to see you guys and good to be on session episode number two for 2024 with you, and I think we did four in 2023. So looking forward to hearing and talking more about the various commodities that we're going to talk about today.

Speaker 1: 1:50

Yeah, you're pretty much a veteran podcaster. At this point, do you feel like you've gotten yourself into a rhythm with being behind the microphone now?

Speaker 2: 1:58

I'm learning from you guys as much as you're learning from me. I think I've just learned more and more as we do each episode and just trying to improve on the most recent one. So this is number two for the year. So I'm still feeling like I'm in my sophomore junior year here. But thanks for the kudos on the veteran status.

Speaker 1: 2:21

Of course. Well, as with everything in life, whether it's freight brokering or learning the produce world or podcasting, there's a learning curve, and the more we do it, the better we get at it. So we're just glad to have you back, ben. What's going on with you in South Florida? Besides, you're apparently having issues with your with your new computer.

Speaker 3: 2:41

Microsoft. Oh, with your new computer, microsoft, oh my god, I can't stand dealing with any of it other than that everything's good, man, weather's nice getting a little warmer around here. Apart from that, that's pretty much been about it nice.

Speaker 1: 2:55

Well, cool, we'll do a quick little sports recap and a little news before we get into our produce. Commodities will be highlighted today. Um, so the kentucky derby if anybody watched it uh it was. It was a pretty packed weekend because it was, um you had if you're like a star wars fan, you had, like may the fourth. On saturday you had cinco de mayo. And wait, did I do that wrong? No, friday was friday was may the fourth. Saturday was cinco de mayo de Mayo. And the Kentucky Derby in the same day. Did I do that right? No, I did it backwards. Saturday was May the 4th at Kentucky Derby, sunday was Cinco de Mayo, so it was pretty much a festive holiday weekend.

Speaker 1: 3:37

Did you guys catch the Derby at all? I did. It was a pretty cool ending. So the Mystic Dan was the name of the winner and I don't fall like horses at all. So shout out to our freight broker guy if he's listening. I know he's big in the horse world and I think he had some kind of big party there this year. But Mystic Dan, 16 to one odds came in and it was like a, like a photo finish like the. Whoever was in second? Um, sierra leone. I want to say uh, they were like a nose length apart, so it's kind of cool. At the end there you didn't know who actually took the win, um, but there it was real close to finish, closest finish since, I think 96 really it's almost 30 years.

Speaker 1: 4:22

That's crazy. But yeah, so that's your Kentucky Derby. I'm going to hit on the F1 race just because we mentioned it last week and it was in your backyard, ben. The Miami Grand Prix was last weekend and we were talking real briefly last week how Max Verstappen has been like the winner of everything recently and he lost. He came in second. So he won. Like everything leading up to it, so like the, the sprint shootout, all the qualifying, fastest lap, all that stuff.

Speaker 1: 4:53

But Lando Norris, the McLaren, I want to say I'm not, I'm not a huge F1 guy, but McLaren driver came in and won and there's like some controversy, everyone's like it. Mclaren driver came in and won and there's like some controversy, everyone's like cause there was a crash, a bunch of crashes, and a virtual safety car was involved in part of it. An actual safety car was involved but because of the, the safety car, the guy, that one was able to sneak in a quick pit stop um, where it allowed him to get a really, a really far lead. So some people were like, well, max should have won. But the reality is that's part of the sport, you know, sometimes you have things go your way and sometimes they don't.

Speaker 1: 5:30

I am glad, though. I mean I like Max, I think he's a great driver, I think Lando is too, but we were talking about last week right, it gives the underdog kind of a fun little Cinderella story, and that was the turnout in Miami. So one of three Formula One Grand Prix's in the US this year, starting to get bigger, bigger, more popular in the States. So what did you see about the price of food, ben?

Speaker 3: 5:48

I was looking to see if I had it screenshotted but I just saw something and it was a picture of the concession stand board, right, and you can't see how big they are, obviously because it's just the board, but there was literally nothing on it that was like less than 150 bucks. Like there was one I remembered it was like 250 dollars for like uh, I was like some type of chips and like nachos and maybe like a sandwich. My wife, when I look at something like this, is either like enough for three or four people or it's just like crazy expensive. Like a lobster roll was like 225 bucks and I'm guessing that's literally one there was. I mean, there was some crazy stuff on it like caviar, which you know you would expect to be expensive, but the rest was just like normal sporting good foods and there was literally nothing on that. That was like less than 190 bucks and it went up to like 450 yeah, well, you think about it.

Speaker 1: 6:44

International sport you're gonna have like the richest of the rich there. It's not cheap to go to one of those events. There's thousands of dollars for a good seat. Um, I did think it was cool. I'd never. I didn't know there was an f1, I didn't know there was a racetrack around the miami dolphins um football stadium and it was like wild to see that racing around around.

Speaker 3: 7:03

Um, so here it was nuts I know and I've wanted to go because it's really close. It's literally like it's less than 15 minutes away. I had some friends that went last year but it said f1 fans outraged as ridiculous food and drink prices at miami-grant period nachos 180 dollars. Cheapest bottle of wine $190. Wow, here it is. I wish I could show you. But like empanada duo is something like $200. Steamed buns $120. The F1 platter $300. A lobster roll is $280. Wow, yeah.

Speaker 1: 7:43

That's wild. Well, there you go, supply and demand, right, it's the only place you can probably get food there without leaving. So they got A beer 16 ounce Miller Lite $55.

Speaker 3: 7:53

Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1: 7:55

To give you context, I would have spent a lot of money there then. Yeah, interesting Other news if you're a fan of roasts, the Tom Brady roast was, I think, sunday night. I caught like an hour of. It was pretty funny. Tom looked extremely uncomfortable for a little while there, but the roast was good. They got him on a lot of stuff there and even Gronk too. So a bunch of the the old Patriots crew from the dynasty there were in attendance and everyone got a little taste to go around as far as the roast. So check it out if you hadn't. Those are always pretty funny.

Speaker 3: 8:30

I heard it was really good. They did a recap on the radio this morning. I was listening to. It sounded really funny on some of the stuff that they were kind of covering and they said it was like a really good one. And I know they were talking about it at the end of last week and they expected it to be like a flub you know kind of thing, where it just wasn't going to be that funny. But they were like no, they went at him. They definitely went at Robert Kraft. I think they went at Belichick.

Speaker 3: 8:56

And they brought up Aaron Hernandez at one point and I was like, oh yikes, yeah, I'm going to be anxious to actually watch the retake of it.

Speaker 1: 9:08

It sounded like it was really pretty fun. Jeff, any sports stuff happening in Chicagoland? How about like baseball or the NFL draft? Anything fun in your neck of the woods?

Speaker 2: 9:17

So you guys know, we picked up the number one pick in the NFL draft and went with what was most likely the candidate, which was Caleb Williams, out of USC that's big and picked up a receiver out of I believe it was Washington too, to compliment the quarterback. So we've got that going on. And then the Cubs are looking good, you guys, in the midst of really having some early injuries on their team as well as a pretty tough schedule, I think strength of schedule has got to be up there in the top five so far this year, and they're only a game out of first place, I think. So all things looking good.

Speaker 2: 10:00

And on the bright spot too, on the pitching side, we picked up this pitcher, shota Imanaga, and a lot of us, including myself, were wanting to get the infamous Shohei Otani from the Angels in the offseason and we didn't. Obviously, that was a huge spend by the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, and so here we are with Shota Imanaga. He's got one of the lowest ERAs, I think, right now in the major leagues. It's like something like 6.8 or .70.

Speaker 1: 10:34

That's insane. Baseball is such a statistics and numbers sport and people. I mean, obviously, if you're a baseball fan, you know that there's the movie Moneyball ball, which really highlights a lot of that. But yeah, like starting pitchers with a good era, your bullpen with good era and obviously, um, you got to have a good offense to to put points up, but it's, it's really cool how it all comes together. So it's been an interesting season so far.

Speaker 2: 11:04

Yes, sir.

Speaker 1: 11:06

True, true, Real quick on news. I don't know, Ben, if you happen to catch any of this. So there was a. I saw this on Freight Waves this week. It was about CH Robinson using some AI to respond to quote requests and everything. And I mean, it was a matter of time before companies started to do some proprietary stuff and obviously we've talked with Levity and kind of shared some of their features on the show in the past. I think AI is going to be a big thing here. But what do you think? Do you see that by any chance, it was like 2,000 different quote requests or something they did via AI.

Speaker 3: 13:00

I did see it and you know, as I was thinking when I read, it was like that's awesome, but you know what, you don't need to go to them to use it. Or should it be that big of a deal? Because our sponsor, levity, can literally do the exact same thing, like that's what they do, and you can connect that and have that done literally automated at your brokerage. Right, do the exact same thing, that's what they do, and you can connect that and have that done literally automated at your brokerage right now. The exact same thing that CH is advertising, right, yeah.

Speaker 1: 13:20

I think that's the big takeaway. Big players oftentimes are going to create their own proprietary TMS, their own proprietary quoting tools, their own proprietary in this case, AI plugin to do stuff. But the small, medium-sized folks too. There's usually an off the shelf option there for any kind of solution you might be looking for. But I thought that was interesting. I've seen some of the recordings of the AI voice, with people making phone calls and an AI person responds to them and you can still tell it's not perfect, but they've made big strides, so it'll be interesting to see how AI pans out and everything.

Speaker 3: 14:01

For sure. It's definitely going to be interesting.

Speaker 1: 14:04

That's pretty much all I got on the news side here. We did have somebody leave a comment on YouTube saying that when we talk about sports it's a waste of time. To that I say uh, keep leaving us your negative comments. It helps the algorithm on YouTube and you can just use the chapters and skip over it if you'd like. But some, some of you folks um, like to hear the banter and the slow, the slow entry into the conversation.

Speaker 1: 14:28

So let's uh, speaking of which, let's get to a produce discussion today with Jeff Lair of Produce Blue Book and, like we mentioned before, jeff's been on with us about half a dozen times now over the last couple of years and we've highlighted in the past a variety of different commodities. And really the goal here is, you know, ben and I talk a lot about seasonal commodities and how to prospect them and what different times of the year look like, and then also produce specifically. But taking it a step further, we look at commodities that are either in season or upcoming, and today we're going to hit on broccoli and peaches and pears. So, jeff, without further ado, welcome back to the show. So you picked these three commodities. I know you kind of wanted to start off with broccoli here, but are these commodities that we're coming up on now, or are they in season? What does this all look like for us?

Speaker 2: 15:27

Yeah. So these are all of the above to your question. So that's why we're starting off with broccoli, which is already rolling, depending on where you're located and you know, I know you guys highlight in different ways shapes and forms are know your commodity information. But you know broccoli, you know ships, depending on where you are in the United States, different times of the year. So like it's pretty much wrapped up out of Arizona but it's in full swing in California right now. So your listeners who are dialing into this episode of your podcast can consider using Blue Book Services to pursue broccoli shippers as well as broccoli buyers.

Speaker 2: 16:16

So California has broccoli year-round. Like I mentioned, florida's just wrapped up its season, but then you're getting into the spring months here, like the East Coast. So you've got some West Coast players with California year-round. You've got Virginia starting to crank up on their broccoli season that runs through the end of July and then it also kind of takes a month off in August but kicks off September, october, november, as well as the other side of the United States. Washington State starts cranking it up here in June.

Speaker 2: 16:52

Then you've got more East Coast states. Like the United States, washington state starts cranking it up here in June. Then you've got more East Coast states like the Garden State, which I grew up in, new Jersey. You have New York and even have Oregon starting to ship out in June through really the end of the year. So those are main states that are shipping broccoli. Arizona starts getting back into the fold again in the fall and the deal starts cranking up through primarily Mexico and the broccoli that's down there that comes up through Mexico. That country and really Mexico ships you around out of their country too. So it'll be hitting border crossings both. You know New Galas, the Rio Grande Valley primarily would be those crossings. So just a good opportunity for listeners if they're interested in those respective states and that specific commodity to haul.

Speaker 3: 17:52

I'm a huge broccoli fan. Outside of that, I eat broccoli every single day, all of the time. It's definitely one of my favorite vegetables. I've never actually moved a shipment of it, though.

Speaker 1: 18:03

Here's what I think is interesting. We didn't really say much about Produce Blue Book in general, but I want to remind everybody, if you've never checked it out, you can go to Producebluebookcom. They've been a sponsor and a partner of ours for quite a while now. My brokerage is a member there and we use it a lot. For, Really, the two main things is there's credit monitoring. So if you have a grower or a shipper, like Jeff mentioned, that's listed in Produce Blue Book, you can see a credit rating on them, so you can get a kind of an idea of credit worthiness for one of these buyers or grower shippers. The other thing, too, is just your your lead generation. Right, there's tens of thousands of different produce companies that are listed in Produce Blue Book.

Speaker 1: 18:52

But even without being a paid member, if you just kind of want to test it out, some of the stuff that Jeff just referenced there comes from the Know your Commodity tool, which, if you just go to ProduceBlueBookcom, there is a Know your Commodity link at the top, along with getting hooked up on the newsletter that comes out a couple of times a day. So looking at the Know your Commodity thing on broccoli, what stuck out to me and I had no idea. A little fun fact. It's native to the Mediterranean right and they didn't bring it to the to the U S. Well, it says brought to England in the 1700s and then to America in the early 1920s. So you got to think that if you go back a hundred years people weren't eating broccoli yet in the United States the way that we are today. Huh, that's a fun little fact there.

Speaker 3: 19:33

It is. You know the other thing too. To your point, like I do this constantly. This is what we were doing this week. We were doing it with clients.

Speaker 3: 19:41

Right Is like before I'm going to go call any commodity that's in season, right, the first two things I do are go to the know your commodity page and get an overview to get a general idea and a sense and some really specific info too, to just kind of get up to speed on it. The second thing I do is I go to the search bar and I'll put that commodity in there and I search all of the recent results for that commodity. So if I'm going to go call broccoli, for example, right, there's almost always a recent article, especially if the season's coming up that tells you what's going on. There's either a shortage, there's a drought, maybe there's an oversupply, maybe there's no issue at all, maybe it's just updating you on what the season looks like. But those two pieces of information, right, have made my phone calls into these companies like 10 times more effective, because now I at least have again from somebody starting this and a lot of our listeners are there.

Speaker 3: 20:35

Even if you're experienced in the brokerage side, if it's a new commodity for you. You get two really good pieces of information a general overview on handling, the temperatures it needs moved and what you need to be aware of, and then you get the insight into what's going on in the market and what they're running into. And if you have those two things, you can really have a much more robust conversation with any of the shippers. That also we're pulling from Produce Blue Book, right? The third thing we do is we're going to pull our list out. We're going to look at it by credit rating and go, hey, this is where we want to draw the line for credit. Every company above that we want to start working out and reaching out to right. So we do like almost all of the functioning for prospecting, learning about it, as well as being up to speed, just out of this tool. Like I have Zoom info, which is whatever 20, 30 grand a year, I use Produce Bluebook far more than I ever used that tool. For these very reasons, right?

Speaker 1: 21:32

And you think about too, just the basic little commodity rundown that you get. So, like if I was talking to somebody earlier today that was curious about some produce things, and they see it, no, I've never really done a whole lot of produce, I don't even know where to start, and this is a great solution. So, like I'll give you a. I gave you a little tidbit about broccoli being a mediterranean, but here's like a little blurb about it, right? So broccoli is a I think I want to say this right cruciferous vegetable closely related to, and often confused with, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts. As broccoli is a cold season crop that does not thrive in hot weather, new hybrids are tackling the sensitivity to warmer temperatures. The us is the world's top producer, with cal accounting for most commercial supply and Arizona coming in at a distant second in production. East Coast growers now also cultivate broccoli to save on long-term shipping costs. So two big takeaways there.

Speaker 1: 22:23

Jeff kind of gave us the whole California's year round. That's one of the unique things about the state of California. If you go all the way up north, that climate and soil is way different than when you go down by San Diego. Right, you've got basically two different night and day climates throughout the year, though. But the other thing that I thought was cool was the East Coast growing to save on transportation distance, which then obviously relates to costs. I find that pretty interesting as well. So that way you're growing on both sides of the country, it's going to cut down that transit distance, transit time and transit costs.

Speaker 1: 22:59

So these are things to keep in mind when you're talking to a grower or a shipper of a certain commodity. Those are questions to ask like hey, where do you guys ship to? Are you nationwide? Are you just basically handling a certain region? And if you look at the New York Commodity Tool, you'll see the different states, like Jeff, laid out there, from Arizona, california, florida, etc. You'll know, based on the time of year, who they're quote unquote competing with as far as where their supply needs to go to. So, jeff, what can you tell us as far? And if you have the numbers, if you don't, that's fine, but do you have a rough idea of the amount of broccoli growers and shippers inside the?

Speaker 2: 23:38

produce Blue Book network, yep.

Speaker 2: 23:39

So yeah, just to add on a couple more details to what you just shared.

Speaker 2: 23:42

Nate, you know, as you look at our commodity information in the states that I listed, when they're shipping listed when they're shipping, you know and the fact that broccoli likes more of a cooler environment to grow in, you look at both the West Coast and the East Coast and the months that they grow and it starts off cooler in these states like New Jersey, new York, or they're starting to grow, they're growing it now, it's in the ground and it'll be harvested here in June or so. So that's just for your listeners' benefit too, so that as we continue to, as they continue to learn more about this commodity, really different things grow in different seasons of temperature and once it's too hot they can't grow. So you know, as far as the number of broccoli growers, shippers, sellers, there's about a little over 600 that we publish in our database throughout the United States and then on excuse me on the seller side, 350, on the buying side, 600. So there's be wholesalers, retailers, food service that buy. So 600 on the buy side, 350 plus on the sell side. That's awesome.

Speaker 3: 25:03

And I wanted to tie in an actual article, right? So I did exactly what. I was just outlining where I go, and I found the article and this is exactly what I would have used, right? So this is from a month ago a little more March 25th, right? A little more than a month. But it's titled Graphic Broccoli by the Numbers. Here's the headline, right?

Speaker 3: 25:20

Broccoli has been a top 10 consumed vegetable for years, but supply problems due to bad weather meant there were less of this nutritious superstar than previous years and at higher prices, right? And then it goes on literally in the first two paragraphs. The second is weather conditions in both Mexico and California in early 2024 have been better, leading to optimism for strong growing seasons. So it's telling you what it was like, what they're expecting now In 30 seconds. I can see that. And then underneath it I can see the charts year over year and it tells me again in another summary, right, what happened in production. It says top 10 consumed vegetables. The three-year comparative graphic for 21 to 24 shows how production in the US and Canada was affected during the summer of 23. The significantly lower supply of broccoli in 23, going into 24, was primarily due to dry weather in the California central region and Canada.

Speaker 3: 26:21

So, again, if I'm talking to a grower or even a distributor, right, and I can speak and ask them questions like hey, were you guys affected at all last year with some of the drought? Is that playing out for you this year? How's this year shaping up, right? Are you guys? Were you guys affected at all last year with some of the drought? Is that playing out for you this year? How's this year shaping up? Right? Are you able to see some of your prices come down as supplies coming up? Like, how is this affecting you? Right? Just in framing that question, it is going to help the person I'm speaking to know that I care enough to look into these things, not just calling and asking for loads, right, so it's a completely different perception. And also, like, I am now better prepared for what is likely to happen, because price and supply are directly related. Right, If supply is going down, the price is going up. If prices are coming down, supply is going up. That affects your shipping margins and whether or not they're likely to need trucks faster or they can wait a little bit for trucks.

Speaker 3: 27:13

So this is information, isn't just hey, how do I have a conversation. It is directly correlated with likely volumes going up or down with the people you're speaking with, and that is really how you can initiate far better conversations with them. When you know a little bit about what's going on, they'll tell you more. It's just again a more effective way to go about this very, very quickly, without me searching every article on the internet for an hour and a half to try to find something relevant. Also, you find it outside there. You don't know if it's true or not. That's the other thing I like about going to Produce. Blue Book is, like I know the information's v vetted. I know it's not somebody just creating an article to get clicks for some other reason. I can trust this and use it in a way that I don't have to worry about them going. Yeah, I don't know what you're talking about, kind of thing. Yeah, right for sure.

Speaker 1: 28:03

And then one of the other things too. You'll get storage and packaging um, some brief overview on that for different commodities. So broccoli, broccoli, what I'm seeing here. Optimal shelf life when stored at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 95 percent relative humidity or above is between 21 and 28 days, but can vary by cult cultiver, if I use that word correctly. So that's a that seems like a better shelf life than some vegetables out there, but, you know, much shorter than some of the ones that can last months and months, but regardless, right, obviously Blue Book is going to be a benchmark and really a trusted resource in the community.

Speaker 1: 28:46

Always double check with your shipper and double, triple check, if you need to, with the motor carrier to make sure that you've got all your T's crossed, i's dotted, when it comes to reefer settings, equipment requirements, etc. Right, if you need to have stuff pulped, uh, pictures taken before, during, after, whatever the case might be, make sure you're checking all that stuff whenever it comes to any temperature controlled commodities there. Um, jeff, you got anything else on broccoli before we move to peaches.

Speaker 2: 29:17

You said it well there, at the very end, I just think too. Broccoli respirates, it breathes, and so that maintaining the right temperature from time of pickup to time of delivery is huge. And those details are included in our Know, your Comm, your commodity information for your listeners and for anyone else out there that's interested in learning more about broccoli and how to transport it well awesome, all right, uh, peaches I.

Speaker 1: 29:45

Whenever I hear peaches, I think about the that song from the 90s peaches come in, can. Is that the?

Speaker 3: 29:51

presidents of the United States of America, dead Presidents of America, or like, yeah, it was. I definitely remember that song.

Speaker 1: 29:58

All right, Jeff, what do we got with Peaches?

Speaker 2: 30:01

So with Peaches, you know we've got a lot of movement right now coming out of California. It's a big stone fruit that they're harvesting and it's in process of being harvested and shipped running from April all the way through October. Georgia the infamous Georgia peach which is, I think, georgia, is also known as the peach state oh yeah, they've started harvesting already back in April and will continue to do so through August or through the whole summer. And then even Florida is in the mix. Here on Florida, peaches in May, here through September. And then you start getting into more of the southern states working up along the east coast. So, excuse me, south Carolina, new Jersey, new York, virginia will be rolling with peaches both, starting now as well all the way through.

Speaker 2: 31:00

Some of these other more mid-Atlantic states start picking up peach harvest in July and September, and then you get over to the West Coast in Washington State. They start their peach harvest and shipping season in july and that runs all the way through october. So it's more of a late, late peach there, and then, if you want, you can start to bring peaches in from south america and the country of chile. So that's peaches on the seasonal side and when they're shipping yeah, where?

Speaker 1: 31:32

Yeah, I didn't, and I never knew that until I looked at the seasonal availability on the produce blue book website. But it isn't. It is a commodity that you really I mean you can get year round, depending on your supermarket, but it's likely going to be more expensive in the winter months Cause it's being imported from South America. I mean, you know you mentioned Chile there, but, yeah, summer months peaches seem to be pretty common and more readily available. And there's your answer it seems like almost every state in the US that grows them has them available July, august. So that makes a lot of sense. What do we?

Speaker 3: 32:11

got for number of-.

Speaker 1: 32:12

Two other points? Yeah, number of Two other points?

Speaker 3: 32:13

Yeah, go ahead Two other points to add to peaches right Again, in about less than a minute I was able to figure out what Georgia looked like last year. And apparently it wasn't a great season last year because there was a lot of pent-up demand from consumers and there's a ton of optimism around this year because of a long, cool spring and really great weather. So there is expected to be a lot of volume coming out of Georgia this year, where there has been more demand than there's been supply, so likely to be a really good season for everything coming out of Georgia. And to the other point, right again, real quick, I was able to go to storing and packing. They need to be at 31 to 32 degrees, 90 to 95% humidity.

Speaker 3: 32:55

Right Now your shipper is going to tell you what they want that reefer set right. But what's really helpful is it tells you what the risk is right after. And it says you know exposure to lower temperatures will cause chilling injury right. Well, that's your claim risk right, it's not necessarily probably on the higher end, but it seems more on the lower end, like if you run your reefer too cool you have the risk of damage for a lot of the reasons it outlines. And again, real quick. You're able to grasp a lot of information on what's going on in the market and what you need to be aware of if you're going to haul it.

Speaker 1: 33:30

For sure, Jeff. What do you got for numbers on this one?

Speaker 2: 33:36

For beautiful peaches. There's over 260 grower shippers that handle this beautiful product and there's about 380 growers and buyers, wholesalers, retail, food service. They handle peaches in their product lineup. So that's some good mojo for your listeners as far as potential loads to pursue, as well as deliveries to make to those respective companies.

Speaker 1: 34:05

Yeah, I mean this is absolutely. I mean you mentioned off the bat earlier the July-August months Colorado, michigan, new Jersey, new York, virginia. Hey, now is the time to start making relationships, because we're two months out from that availability standpoint. Another fun fact that I found on there peach trees grow best in temperate climates, hence the locations we mentioned. Well-drained soil and sloped land for good air circulation and new trees will not bear fruit for three years, but most enjoy an average lifespan of 15 to 20. So if you see a new peach farm going up, you're not going to be moving any loads for about three years at the earliest. Keep that in mind. But that's a fun little fact there. Good stuff, all right, cool. Anything else on peaches? All right, let's move to what we got next Pears.

Speaker 2: 35:00

Pears. Yeah, so pears is an interesting commodity. Depending on where you are, it's available in shipping year round, year-round. I wanted to kind of have this one as the last one, because different varieties are being shipped Oregon and Washington year-round, as well as from South America and even Europe. But for the United States, oregon and Washington are your two main pair of shippers, and then it starts to come into stride in some other states later this summer. California, georgia, new York will all start to be shipping in July and August. So this is another commodity that people enjoy eating. You see it a lot in your retail grocery store chains and, depending on where you are and your restaurants and different restaurants you go to, especially pizza, uh, you see pear and caramelized onions on a pizza, um, which is a pretty good combination. If you haven't tried it before, I'd recommend it Never tried that before.

Speaker 1: 36:04

That's, that's a first. Is that really a thing?

Speaker 2: 36:07

Yeah, oh, interesting. So so, yeah, I mean, and uh too, peaches best to consume in the morning or at lunchtime, just for your digestion, for another healthy eating tip.

Speaker 1: 36:22

Are pears big on fiber then? Kind of reminds me a little bit like apples, based on like where they ship, like the Northwest type deal. But all right, pears in the morning, good to know, yep, yep or at lunchtime, so, or lunch.

Speaker 2: 36:38

So that's my my info on the seasonality of pears awesome, bad, did you?

Speaker 1: 36:44

I feel like you're gonna have something up your sleeve here with pears I did.

Speaker 3: 36:47

I was pulling the same thing I always go to like storage and packing right, and the thing is like there is a bit of a difference between like Asian and European pears, right, and even in the temperatures they're moved. So Asian pears require slightly warmer temps 34 to 36. Again, if temp falls below 29, chilling injury can occur. The other thing is what I think Jeff pointed out earlier is like ethylene enhances ripening for European cultivars, right, so what they're hauled with can directly affect that right. And I don't know which of the vegetables produce ethylene, but I think broccoli is one of them and I didn't look it up quickly enough to figure that out.

Speaker 1: 37:30

But that another thing to be like aware of, because you don't want vegetables that produce a gas that ripens the other one loaded anywhere near the other one or even in your refrigerator for that matter, because it's the same goes for, like, how you store it at your house, right, like if you've ever had like a couple of produce bowls on your uh, on your counter and you're like man, why are my potatoes looking like this? Why is my onion starting to look like that? Um yeah, storing certain things together can cause broccoli right, and it is.

Speaker 3: 38:01

Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are a few examples of the ethylene sensitive foods. Apples, bananas, melons, pears and peaches are ethylene producing fruits, while tomatoes are moderate ethylene producing fruits, but the broccoli is very sensitive to that as well. So things to be aware of, especially on the shipping side of partial loads and matching things up. You want to make sure that you're aware of what can be packed with other things, or even close enough to it that it doesn't affect the other one, because that can clearly be an issue.

Speaker 1: 38:35

Yeah, jeff. What do we have for numbers for pairs?

Speaker 2: 38:39

Yes, so for pair grower shippers a little over 250 grower shippers that could be potentially pursued for hauling a load of pairs or loads. And then buyers there's over 400 pair buyers in the United States. So again, just some great opportunities for your listeners if they would subscribe to Blue Book Services for business and data information for the fresh produce supply chain. I mean there's also truckers and truck brokers published in our database too, just so that they're aware of that. So as well as supply service companies that help in any way, shape or form, getting produce from the field to the table of someone's house and in between, Awesome.

Speaker 1: 39:27

Just trying to see if I can find any more fun facts on pears here. I think pretty much I think we hit it there, ben. Yeah, that's one of just kind of overall takeaway here. If you're new to a certain commodity, check out the Know your Commodity tool on Produce Blue Book. It's a great way to kind of get a teaser of some of the information you'll get from Blue Book as a paying member. I highly recommend it, ben, and I personally use it ourselves. It's a great way. If I've, you know, if I got somebody in our company that is trying to go heavy into prospecting some new stuff Bluebook's got. Obviously, jeff just named three commodities alone. There's, you know, thousands of options in there just for those three. But I mean you've got probably well over 100 different commodities listed. Do you actually do you know off the top of your head, jeff, how many commodities? There's gotta be like a hundred or more, right?

Speaker 2: 40:18

So, yeah, on the know your commodity guide, the total fruit and vegetables is pushing north of, I believe, 120. Wow Fruit and vegetables that we have there that you can get information on. So, yeah, just a great resource and tool for anyone really in the fresh produce supply chain, from grower shipper all the way to retail and food service companies, to know about. It also could be used by consumers too, just so they have an idea of where things are coming from and a little background on the respective commodities, like we highlighted today, from where they've originated from to temperatures to be stored in all that good stuff.

Speaker 1: 40:56

And Ben, you know you, ben, you and I have talked a lot about prospecting with a purpose, right. Try to find a category to put all your prospects into. That is the same right, whether it's regional based or equipment type based or, in this case, commodity, right? So let's say, for example, you wanted to prospect something new. You can. You know, if you're a Blue Book member, you can get in there and you've got hundreds of companies that you can reach out to. Obviously, you'll want to match that up with.

Speaker 1: 41:23

You want to look at credit ratings and kind of get a baseline for what is your company's risk tolerance with certain credit ratings on different shippers. But it takes that step, that entire step out of the equation of hey, I spent two months, I got a great relationship and then I can't get credit for them because they've got a bad credit rating. Well, you can get that part out of the way. You can see what their credit rating is ahead of time and you've got hundreds of companies that all ship the same commodity. So if you're going on a cold calling blitz, just try and build some relationships up.

Speaker 1: 43:15

You know, two or three months before shipping season rolls out, you're going to be talking to the same kinds of shippers that are dealing with the same kinds of external factors, whether it's capacity in the reefer environment or a certain region of the country or you mentioned it earlier, ben, with the climate difference last year in California to this year for specific commodities. So it's a really great, great way to very easily get a lot of leads that are pre-qualified, vetted and you get some basic information on the commodity itself and shipping and packing procedures and standards and all that good stuff. So definitely take advantage of it. Whenever you and I talk about lead generation and ways to find leads, produce Blue Book is always one of the top resources we recommend as a very effective and efficient way to be able to get a large quantity of quality leads in a short amount of time. So high recommendation.

Speaker 2: 44:16

Use it myself Very good, and even for the investment. You know our most popular level of service is about $1,800 a year. I mean one or two new customers that then repeat pays for itself as well as avoiding a bad.

Speaker 3: 44:33

a bad new customer, a bad client, with the rating information that you can use to vet the customer before you start reaching out to them, is is huge as well yeah, oh, absolutely that doesn't and that doesn't even take into account the fact that you got additional access to claim assistance when you run into claims as well, which I think is one of the also more valuable things in the whole suite of what you get for that membership right. I mean, if you're in produce, you will have claims and the issue and again, we see this all the time. We see it with agents we work with, we see it with our clients and even in our own brokerages. But you're going to have claims and oftentimes they're not as clear cut in produce as they are in other commodities because of them being perishable and the different things that happen. Sometimes that claim is absolutely responsible by the shipper because it wasn't pre-cooled right, or maybe it is the driver, because maybe the temp didn't stay what you know, maybe the temp didn't stay what it was, or maybe we didn't pulp it in the beginning.

Speaker 3: 45:34

And having a third party help you work through that process is not only valuable and it makes it easier. You've got somebody that can help guide you through what you need to be documenting and what to be aware of. But in addition to that, like when there's a claim, as a broker like you're meant to help service your customer, the shipper, to make it easier, but that's not always straightforward when it could be their fault that the claim happened in the first place. And you don't want to get into the situation where it's an argument or contentious between the two of you. Having this third party weigh in, takes that away from you, right, Like you don't have to worry about it. It's like hey, look, this is the documents, this is what happened, this is what has occurred.

Speaker 3: 46:20

Having this third party becomes very valuable to maintaining a good relationship so you can keep doing business with them, because oftentimes a claim just turns into an argument. The shipper never wants to use you. Maybe you cut a check to keep them happy. That doesn't help. The broker, the carrier, doesn't respond to emails and you end up with this huge quagmire and lost business on top of a claim that still needs resolved. So like I can't stress enough how much we've sent clients to you guys even just for that reason They've had a claim or two they hadn't been able to work out. I'm like look for just the claim piece of it, it's worth it, right. And then you get all these other things with it. So I think it's also important to stress that like that's a big risk to the brokers as well as the carriers and it is very, very valuable in actual dollars and in time to have that third party expertise For and in time to have that third-party expertise For sure.

Speaker 2: 47:11

Absolutely yes, sir, yeah, you know. And two, also, we can collect on past due receivables. So it's not only working through a problem and, like you said, benjamin, working through a problem. Well, and we have a team versed in the produce industry and transportation that's effective in helping you. You'd also be able to access assistance on past due receivable that you're not able to collect and we don't charge anything. Or you're not building anything until receipt of payment and then there's a nominal success fee for that. So all good things to keep in mind is your listeners think about either getting into produce or they're still in produce and they haven't used Blue Book Services before to subscribe.

Speaker 1: 47:53

Absolutely Very good. Well, that's a wrap on broccoli, peaches and pears, ben, anything else you want to hit on and I know we talked to obviously the commodities and then some basic overview stuff on seasonal commodities in general, but anything else you want to hit on today.

Speaker 3: 48:11

Something kind of general, but not in the context. I don't know if any of you saw the new special on Netflix that just came out. It's called the Secrets of your Gut Hack your Health. Either of you seen that on Netflix? I have not Really worth watching, first off.

Speaker 3: 48:29

But second of all, what they're really explaining is like now science is kind of catching up with why we probably have health issues that we weren't aware of, why they were happening and the long and short of it is is because we don't have a lot of diversity of produce in our diet, and the one line that just kind of stuck out is like you know, we kind of thought that like you could just eat kale every day and that was going to give you enough vitamins and you'd be fine. The problem is all of the microbiomes from that are what live in your gut and in your intestines that help you stay healthy and digest your food. And when you don't eat varieties of both vegetables and fruits on a weekly basis, it does create health issues. It creates lots of other things that seem unrelated and were thought unrelated that they're now realizing aren't. And again, on a personal note, one of the biggest things that I've wanted to do this year is to start being proactive, to eat more varieties, same thing with my daughter and my family. Because, again, like, how you feel and how you perform are directly related. And if you want to do better at work and you want more prospects and to do more business, you start with one sleeping good and two, eating well and exercising, but eating well like one. It's just far more interesting for me now to dig into these things because it's not just the shipping side, it's not just the business, like it's actually impacting my life, like I feel better. I don't have ups and downs throughout the day and sugar crashes from trying to keep my energy up. Just try to eat like, like, literally have a bowl of broccoli and carrots next to me and try to vary what you're eating throughout the week. Right, and some of the things we're talking about. Because, again, in prospecting, we talk about the things related to shipping in this that we pull from Produce Blue Book.

Speaker 3: 50:10

But when you can speak from a personal point of view as to why you enjoy the product that this company you're calling produces, packs, ships, whatever grows, like you're connecting on a personal level. Like I enjoy eating this, right, love that you guys work in this right, love that you guys work in this right. That is a human to human connection that builds a better bond and better trust quicker, because it's true and you actually care about it. So I don't think it's necessarily unrelated. I think you're able to have better conversations when you understand also the use of the product, which, again, most people just think, well, you just eat it.

Speaker 3: 50:47

But it goes far beyond that and this is really important in just day-to-day life now, like organic produce, eating more of it, right, like people are more conscious of these things. Demand for all these products is going up. This is important to the company that makes this product and to be able to understand why it's important, I think just makes you better at working with them and it makes you better at actually connecting with the folks that actually create the things that we're going to move and ultimately eat at the end of the day Kind of closes the loop, if you will.

Speaker 1: 51:17

Yeah, I mean we talk about working with commodities that you're passionate about, right. So if you're really big into nutrition, hey, produce and other commodities in the food sector can be definitely something that you can speak passionately about. But it's good, man, it's a good way to put a bow on the conversation here. Yep, and for the benefit, jeff, anything else you got.

Speaker 2: 51:40

Yeah, just for the benefit of other people too. You know, like I realize, there's a myriad of things from A to Z to haul and to transport and to broker freight, but fresh produce really, it's food and it's healthy food, Absolutely. That feeds Americans and the world. So why not get into something good that you're transporting day in and day out, and produce would be one of those?

Speaker 1: 52:07

Absolutely Well. Great episode, good stuff, folks. Thanks for being on again, Jeff. We will definitely be seeing you a couple more times later this year, so thanks again and we will be seeing you soon, Ben. Any final thoughts here?

Speaker 3: 52:23

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't you're right, and until next time, go Bills.

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