Pepper grower-shippers predict steady prices, good supply

05/10/2012 10:27:00 AM
Sarah Krause

With no major weather issues plaguing growing areas, pepper producers expect a quality crop in steady supply to kick off the summer season.

This will mean plenty of promotable product at retail, producers said.

“The quality has been excellent, we’ve got decent supply and prices have been stable,” said Peter Quiring, president of Nature Fresh Farms, Leamington, Ontario, which produces red, yellow and orange greenhouse-grown peppers. “I think (prices) are right where they need to be for everybody to still be profitable and happy.”

At Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group, good volumes from Canada are anticipated throughout the spring and summer.

“By nature, greenhouse peppers peak at certain points of the season, creating ‘flushes’ of volume that we can anticipate, enabling us to set up strategic promotions with retailers, providing them the opportunity to offer high-quality peppers at attractive pricing for their customers,” said Aaron Quon, greenhouse category director. Oppenheimer also offers organic red peppers throughout the summer.

For Coachella, Calif.-based Prime Time International, which offers peppers year-round, the transition from one growing area to the next will be a smooth one this season, said Mike Aiton, director of marketing.

“Once Coachella gets going, there’s going to be a lot of peppers here,” he said. “There are a lot more planted, which will bring lower retails and hopefully a lot of promotions. Quality has been outstanding, and I don’t expect that to change.”

Hothouse harvest in Coachella and Baja began the first week of May and should continue until July 4, when it transitions to the San Joaquin Valley.

The field-grown deal for both green and colored peppers will begin in July, Aiton said, adding, “We’ve had good growing conditions, heavy plantings and the plants look good and are loaded in Coachella. It should be a seamless transition with a lot of product to promote all summer long.”

Prime Time also offers field-grown, elongated red organic peppers, which are set to begin harvest in mid-May, continuing through early July, as well as seasonally grown hot peppers May through July out of Coachella.

Another California grower, Uesugi Farms Inc., Gilroy, Calif., will transition to field-grown peppers in Bakersfield, Gilroy and Brentwood, said Damon Barkdull, sales and business development at Uesugi. He said the early crops looked fine and the weather had been ideal.


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