Cold delays peaches, watermelon, doesn't harm blueberries - The Packer

Cold delays peaches, watermelon, doesn't harm blueberries

05/10/2013 09:42:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

A cold spring is expected to delay the start of Georgia’s peach deal and could produce a gap between the ending of Florida and the start of Georgia’s watermelon deal.

The state’s blueberries escaped serious cold weather damage.

Blueberries

Buyers should expect strong volume and good promotable blueberry supplies.

Estero, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC’s growers began harvesting April 13 as normal.

Brian Bocock, the Grand Junction, Mich.-based vice president of product management, said he expected production to enter its peak in early May.

“Quality looks good and supplies will be fairly solid,” he said in late April.

“The big difference for Georgia is it won’t be overlapping with Florida quite like we earlier thought. It should be a uniform marketplace as we moved into the early part of May and there should be opportunities for promotions.”

Though the southern highbush, the state’s first crop, declines in late May, Bocock said buyers should expect strong production through then when its second crop, the rabbit eye variety, begins.

He said bigger promotions should start the first week in June on pints in Georgia and North Carolina.

North Carolina production should begin in a small way in mid-May and, like Georgia, finish in mid-July.

In late April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported trading “very active for light supplies.”

The USDA reported flats of 12 1-pint cups with lids of blueberries from south Georgia selling for $32-35, and 12 6-ounce cups with lids selling for $22-25.

Wish Farms in Plant City, Fla., began light Georgia harvesting April 17.

J.C. Clinard, senior vice president, said he expects volume to increase and hit promotable volumes in early May and overlap with Florida production. Wish plans to finish Florida on May 20.

“The Georgia berry crop looks very good,” Clinard said in late April. “We have good quality. It is just a slower than usual start because of the warmer winter and colder March. We haven’t had a lot of chill hours, which slowed us down.”

In late April, Bocock characterized Florida production as strong.

That deal should finish shipping in volume by mid-May, with growers only harvesting small volumes for a few weeks after that.

Peaches

This year’s Georgia peach harvest should start May 20, sources said.

That’s three weeks later than last year but close to the deal’s typical start.

Low February and March temperatures helped push the crop to a later start and caused some isolated damage but nothing that significantly affected the crop, said Duke Lane III, vice president of sales with Lane Southern Orchards, Fort Valley, Ga.


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