Growers attempt to stay balanced with strong start to vegetables

05/10/2012 01:48:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Carolina vegetables have started early and look to provide growers a successful year if the supply stays balanced among areas of the state.

Napa cabbage typically starts around May 7 in North Carolina, but it began significantly early this year, according to Steven Ceccarelli, owner of Farm Fresh Produce, Faison, N.C.

“Growing conditions were very favorable this year. Some growers gambled a little bit by transplanting early, and we were able to do that because we didn’t have a frost,” Ceccarelli said.

He expects the crop to be very good this year, with no insect damage.

“It’s probably the best I’ve seen in the last four years,” he said.

Ceccarelli said the Florida napa deal is about to finish up and he hasn’t heard anything about the Georgia deal.

After napa, Farm Fresh will turn its attention to green, red and savoy cabbage, all expected to produce good crops this year as well, mostly because of the great weather this spring.

“Everything has been growing fantastic. It’s 70-80 degrees in the middle of the day, which is nice and hot, just ideal growing temperatures with good rain very well spread out,” Ceccarelli said.

Farm Fresh had just planted its yellow and green squash in late April.

“Georgia is still going strong with squash, so we aren’t ready for those yet anyway,” Ceccarelli said.

Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner, agricultural services for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, said most growers in South Carolina are still harvesting greens.

Sweet onions, green onions, parsley, cilantro and cabbage are also under way.

“Some broccoli is just starting now and we’re winding down with asparagus pretty quickly. Then it’ll be June when we start with corn, tomatoes and peppers,” Eubanks said.



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