California broccoli supplies should tighten heading into the holiday season.
Mother Nature is one reason why, but there are others, said Mark McBride, salesman for Salinas, Calif.-based Coastline Produce.
“Our broccoli is harvesting up to two weeks ahead of schedule due to the warmer than normal weather we’ve experienced,” McBride said. “With declining volume in the coming weeks from California, homegrown areas finishing and holiday demand kicking in, demand and f.o.b.s should firm up considerably.”
Jason Lathos, commodity manager for Salinas-based Church Bros. LLC, agreed.
“Cauliflower and broccoli will be very light on supplies through the balance of the coast season due to crops being two weeks ahead,” he said. “We’re forecasting lighter supplies and higher markets.”
In addition to regional U.S. deals winding down, expected light supplies out of Mexico also should keep demand high, Lathos said.
Markets should tighten as regional deals finish for good in late October and early November and demand cranks up for Thanksgiving, traditionally a good holiday for broccoli, said John Chobanian, broccoli commodity manager for Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms.
But Ocean Mist expects to have enough supplies to meet the demand.
“People got tired of losing money over the summer, and they cut back, and it’s worked out pretty good,” Chobanian said. “There should be a nice, clean transition to the desert.”
Ocean Mist expects to shift production from the Salinas Valley to the desert in the third week of November, Chobanian said.
Despite projections for lighter volumes and tighter markets, the week of Oct. 13 actually saw a lull in the market, McBride said.
“From our perspective, there was additional volume around this week so prices eased just a bit.”
On Oct. 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $8.35-10.05 for cartons of bunched 14s from California.
On Sept. 24, 2013, prices were $17.25-18.55. The USDA doesn’t have prices from October 2013 because of the government shutdown.