Salinas Valley back in the black; prices, demand up

04/21/2014 11:00:00 AM
Mike Hornick

“A lot of guys still haven’t really cranked up as far as head lettuce in Salinas,” Dill said April 15. “They’re packing, but I wouldn’t say some of these guys are going full bore yet.”

Salinas-based Colorful Harvest LLC reported cauliflower volumes were on the uptick after a brief slowdown. The grower-shipper also plans to nearly double its production of purple, orange, green and white cauliflowers this year, said Doug McFarland, marketing director.

Mark Adamek, general manager for romaine and mixed leaf production at Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle, said April 17 that demand is driving this market — strongly enough, perhaps, to put the industry on course for a shortage by the end of May.

“Inventories will stay good here in the Salinas Valley until late May,” Adamek said. “I believe there’s a hole coming. All growers are harvesting seven to 14 days ahead of schedule because of the lack of winter weather. There’s almost always a reckoning when that happens.”

“It’s not like inventories are bad,” he said. “We went through a period where we couldn’t get product back to East Coast customers, but most of that winter weather is gone now. I have a feeling people were just hungry for some produce. It coincided with the Easter holiday.”

That pricing on romaine, for example, rose even while processors showed little vigor for buying it, points to a demand-driven market, he said.


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