CEDARVILLE, N.J. — Growers report high quality and volume for this year’s asparagus deal. The state also produces significant quantities of sweet corn and green beans. Growers began asparagus harvesting in late March and early April, a couple of weeks earlier than the typical April 10-15 start.
Tom Sheppard, president of Eastern Fresh Growers Inc., said Chile was finishing shipments just as New Jersey began production.
He called prices low before New Jersey’s start and said Chile’s end helped boost prices. California’s beginning production in mid-March but at low volumes also helped, Sheppard said.
“Everything looks fine,” Sheppard said in early May. “We have good quality. Demand is really good and people are wanting asparagus.”
Sheppard said prices generally begin strong in the early parts of the deal before Easter. Mother’s Day, in mid-May, remains a strong draw. He said the market declines as temperatures warm.
In early May, Sheppard quoted $48-52 for 28-pound boxes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-May reported 28-pound pyramid cartons and crates of bunched green asparagus from Michigan selling for $50-54.
In late May last season, the same quantities from Michigan sold for $44-46.
Sheppard said Eastern Fresh hit volume production in early May. The deal typically hits promotable volume levels during the first three weeks of May, when production peaks, he said.
Wm. Consalo & Sons Farms Inc., Vineland, began its asparagus harvesting in early April.
Vince Consalo Jr., president, called quality high.
“The quality has been above average,” he said in mid-May. “It has been a lot greener because of the warmer weather we’ve had. The market is strong and there is high demand. It looks like it will stay that way until the end of the deal.”
New Jersey normally begins its sweet corn harvest July 10 after Georgia finishes.
Consalo planted its corn in early and mid-May.
Consalo called last summer’s deal strong and said growers are looking for a similar deal this season. He said the market has been a little lower than normal.
New Jersey growers harvest corn into mid-August.
Nardelli Bros. Inc. plans to start green beans June 1, a couple of days earlier than normal, said Bill Nardelli, president.
In mid-May, Nardelli called bean quality and prices strong.
Nardelli said beans sold at $18-22 per bushel cartons and crates for a long time.
According to the USDA, bushel cartons and crates of round green beans from Georgia in mid-May sold for $12-12.85.