“Those cold days turned a legitimate gap into a nightmare gap where we couldn’t harvest more than 25% of normal on any given day,” Burton said.
Not only romaine, but iceberg, green leaf, red leaf, butter and spinach just stopped growing. His romaine peeled and blistered.
Burton was cautiously optimistic about a pickup in Coachella volume.
“We’ll be pretty much out of the woods by the first week of February, according to our farming department,” he said. “We’re tired of this weather but it is what makes markets. We think this thing is going to fix itself with good, warmer conditions.”
On iceberg, prices for film-lined cartons of 24 ran mostly $24.48 to $27.75 out of Yuma, according to the USDA, up from $6.35 to $7.14 on Dec. 17.
“Sadly enough, it might not be enough of a market to dig us out of the hole we dug in the fall,” Adamek said. “We were losing so much production to heat. But it goes a long way in helping.”
“Supply may ease up to a small degree in the next few weeks,” he said. “But what’s not going to change is the shortage that’s looming at the end of the deal. In spite of all these cold weather episodes, I’m still a week and a half ahead in all my fields.”
“The San Joaquin and Salinas valleys had cold, wet weather during their initial plantings. At the end of the desert deal, when we’re wrapping up our last plantings (in Yuma) and the two come together, I suspect they won’t dovetail very nicely.”