Cool, rainy weather may mean slow start for Salinas harvest

04/19/2012 02:29:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Pacific International Marketing and Earthbound Farm each reported cauliflower two weeks behind schedule, but had no issues with broccoli.

Doug Classen, sales manager, said Salinas-based The Nunes Co. was on time for all commodities but cauliflower.

For the lettuce varieties, the transition from the desert regions to Huron also happened in late March. Most growers were in Salinas by the week of April 16; for one, The Nunes Co. expected to start iceberg then. D’Arrigo Bros., which skips Huron, is among the first to harvest lettuce here.

Celery hits Salinas in mid-June. Meanwhile production centers on Oxnard, which has problems of its own.

“Oxnard is mired in overproduction,” Sammy Duda, vice president of Duda Farm Fresh Foods, said April 10. “We believe in a couple weeks you’ll see a seeder issue begin to develop there and supply will start to decline.”

Good cheer was hardly universal among grower-shippers.

“We’re looking forward to better markets,” Classen said. “But we don’t see that happening in the near future.”

Toward the end of Ocean Mist Farms’ Yuma deal, vice president of harvesting Art Barrientos said, growers left some fields unharvested rather than face low prices.

Artichokes are grown to varying extents year-round in the region, but volume peaks in April and May.

Pacific International Marketing’s Dill said frost took a bite out of artichokes in lower-lying fields.

“At least 5% to 10% of the next (artichoke) pick is lost,” Dill said. “We’re just going to have to cut them and drop them. Doesn’t matter if it’s our stuff, Ocean Mist or Green Giant. Weather doesn’t discriminate.”

Huron also was problematic, Dill said.

“We had a number of blocks in Huron that weren’t able to harvest because of frost damage,” he said. “With a depressed market, it didn’t warrant taking a chance to clean it up and box it. I can’t remember a spring deal in Huron when there was that much blister on the product.”


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