Green bean volume catches up after freeze

03/02/2012 10:58:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — After a freeze lowered January and February production, south Florida grower-shippers say buyers should prepare for normal spring green bean volume.

Though the Jan. 3-4 frost disrupted plantings and caused some damage to Winter Glades-area plantings, shippers say they expect volume to return to normal in early and mid-March.

“The bean deal rocked along real well this winter,” Gary Stafford, salesman and green beans manager with Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, said in late February. “Our spring production looks normal. We will be back in regular production in March and April.

“Quality has been real good and we’ve had a mild winter that’s produced a decent growing season.”

Stafford said growers experienced a normal winter growing season outside of the freeze.

Prices

In late February, Stafford quoted $21-25 for cartons and crates of machine-picked green beans.

In late February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported bushel cartons/crates of handpicked round green beans from central and south Florida selling for $20.85-21.85 with
machine-picked selling for $19.85-20.85.    

Last spring in late February, the USDA reported bushel cartons/crates of handpicked round green beans from south Florida selling for $21.35-22.85 with machine-picked selling for $20.35-20.85.

Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, said buyers should expect a strong bean deal.

“Quality looks very nice,” he said in late February. “The beans have survived the cold weather well. They’re fine. We expect a strong March on the bean crop.”

Biederman said the low temperatures that struck in mid-February didn’t fall low enough to cause any damage.

The early January cold interrupted grower planting schedules and caused some February gaps. Some beans grown in warmer areas survived while others perished, Biederman said.

Steady and typical

This year’s season remains steady and a typical one, said Chris Tordonato, sales manager of Florida Specialties Inc., Immokalee.

“Quality has been excellent,” he said in late February. “We have had very good growing conditions. We will have steady volume from the beginning of March through the middle of May.”

Stafford called the fall transition from Georgia to Florida production consistent and said he expects the late spring transition in late May to go smoothly as well.

Biederman called the Florida fall deal strong. He said fall production started a little later than normal because heavy September rains delayed plantings but produced high quality.
Homestead production typically gives way to Belle Glade in late March, with volume becoming stronger during April and finishing in mid- to late May before Georgia starts.



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