OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Summer tomato deals have started out of the San Diego area and Baja California, with both regions reporting good growing conditions and excellent quality.
“In all the years I’ve been here, this is the best start-off quality we’ve ever had,” said Dick Keim, marketing coordinator for West Coast Tomato Growers.
The company started harvesting June 26, on schedule.
“The volume has been gradually coming on,” he said. “We’re finally getting promotable volume for retailers.”
July weather has been mild, “just about right for growing tomatoes,” he said.
Conditions in northern Baja California, where San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce is harvesting tomatoes from shade houses and greenhouses, have been similar to the San Diego growing area, said John King, vice president of sales.
“Growing conditions have been ideal,” he said. “It’s been a really mild start to the summer.”
On July 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said f.o.b. prices for two-layer cartons of adapted environment vine-ripe tomatoes ranged from about $7 for sizes 5x6 and 5x5 and $8.95 for 4x4s and 4x5s.
The companies said they expected to have adequate water supplies this season, but King said the water situation could get tight during September and October.
There were reports that some Baja California growers might cut back their fall plantings, which likely would prompt stronger markets.
West Coast Tomato Growers, whose tomatoes are marketed by The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, will offer vine-ripe and roma tomatoes until just before Thanksgiving, Keim said.
Andrew & Williamson will offer a selection of tomatoes that includes vine-ripe, roma, grape, cherry and heirloom varieties as well as organic tomatoes through December.