Shippers predict steady supplies of Georgia vegetables

08/31/2012 11:11:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Shippers of Georgia fall vegetables expect normal seasonal shipments of bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, sweet corn, green beans, eggplant and cabbage.

Bell peppers


Brian Rayfield, vice president of sales and marketing for J&J Produce Inc., Loxahatchee, Fla., called late summer prices low.

Rayfield said No. 1 jumbos sold for $5-6 in late July and early August but increased to $8-10 in mid-August.

Prices later strengthened, however, and in late August the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 1 1/9 bushel cartons of jumbos and extra larges from western North Carolina selling for $10-12.35.

Rayfield said he hopes an early flood of product could play out early and strengthen prices when Georgia begins.

“The summer deals have been putting a lot on the market,” he said in mid-August. “I think this heat caused a glut of peppers and caused more product to come on at once. This will hopefully in turn cause a more favorable market for us when Georgia starts because all the product scheduled to come on up north over a period of time came on fast and furious.”

Squash

Lake Park, Ga.-based Fresh Link Consolidation LLC, the sales agent for Coggins Farm and Produce Inc., plans to begin squash harvesting on time Sept. 15.

Harry Sheaffer, Fresh Link’s vice president, characterized the spring deal as fair, saying it had its peaks and valleys but overall wasn’t a disappointing season.

“The squash looks good,” he said in mid-August. “I think we’ll have decent volume and pretty good quality as long as this weather stays off us.”

In mid-August, Sheaffer said prices were strong and quoted $12 for green and $14 for yellow.

He said the market normally perks up a little as the northern deals decline.

Sheaffer said prices aren’t normally that strong.

In late August, the USDA reported these prices for Michigan squash:

  •  half-bushel cartons and crates of small zucchini were $14-16.85 and mediums were $12-14.85;
  • half-bushel cartons of small yellow straightneck were $14-16.85, mediums were $12-14.85.
  • 3/4-bushel cartons and crates of yellow crookneck from western North Carolina sold for $19-19.35 for small, with medium fetching $15-15.35.


Cucumbers

Jon Schwalls, director of operations for Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable Inc., Norman Park, Ga., said the spring brought a strong deal.

“This past spring, we had an absolutely outstanding crop on cucumbers, the best crop we have ever had on cucumbers,” he said. “We had such good quality and high yields, it was fantastic.


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