Shippers of Georgia fall vegetables expect normal seasonal shipments of bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, sweet corn, green beans, eggplant and cabbage.
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.”
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.
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.
We had good sound prices through the spring.”
In mid-August, Schwalls said prices were low.
Schwalls quoted $8-10 from Michigan.
According to the USDA, 1 1/9 bushel cartons of waxed medium cucumbers from Michigan in late August sold for $18-18.85.
Georgia cucumbers normally start in early to mid-September.
Sweet corn, green beans
Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, Fla., was planting its corn and beans in mid-August.
Gary Stafford, salesman and green beans manager, said his company planned to begin corn harvesting in early October and start beans in the middle of the month.
Stafford said he expects Branch’s corn acreage in Bainbridge, Ga., and bean plantings in Poulan, Ga., to remain consistent with last year.
He said growers tell him plantings are going well.
Stafford said the late summer corn deal was seeing strong prices.
“Demand has been very good,” he said in mid-August. “Supply has been shorter than normal the last couple of weeks because warm weather has everything ahead of schedule.”
In late August, the USDA reported wirebound crates of 4-4½ dozen yellow and white corn from Hudson Valley New York selling for $10.35-11.35, with bicolor fetching $9.35-10.85.
On beans, the USDA in mid-August reported $13.35-14 for bushel cartons/crates of round green beans from western North Carolina.
Calvert Cullen, president of Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., Cheriton, Va., which also grows and ships from Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, said buyers should expect higher prices.
He said Michigan could produce less volume.
“The heat has had an effect on some of these guys, plus there isn’t as much acreage planted,” Cullen said in mid-August. “There’s less production, particularly in Michigan.”
Cullen said late summer prices were strong.
According to the USDA, 1 1/9-bushel cartons of medium-sized eggplant, including wrapped, from Michigan in late August sold for $7-8.85.
Quality is strong, Schwalls said.
Cabbage growers were planting in mid- and late August.
Georgia normally plans to begin cabbage harvesting Nov. 1.
Citing $5 for 50-pound cartons of medium green cabbage from western and central New York, Northampton’s Cullen in mid-August said prices were low.
In late August, the USDA reported prices increasing to $7-9 for the same quantities in the same producing regions.
Georgia’s cabbage production typically runs through early January.