Strawberry and blueberry volumes should be ample for Fourth of July promotions, but late starts in some growing regions could limit corn and watermelon supplies.
Georgia sweet corn volumes and quality should be good for the Fourth for Belle Glade, Fla.-based Pioneer Growers Co-op, said Jon Browder, sales manager.
The first Georgia plantings of the year, affected by heavy rains in March, April and early May, should be out of the system, and corn grown under better conditions shipping by mid-June, Browder said.
“We should have plenty of volume. It hasn’t been extremely warm, but in the next week they’re forecasting temperatures in the mid- to high 90s,” Browder said June 4.
A late start in New York and other Eastern states should increase holiday pull for Georgia sweet corn, Browder said.
“Business is great right now. We hope it keeps up.”
After a long, cold winter in much of the country, sweet corn demand was strong throughout the Northeast and Midwest in early June, Browder said.
On June 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $10.95 for wirebound crates of 4 dozen ears from Georgia, up from $8.95-9.95 last year at the same time.
Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms Inc. expects to be sourcing most if not all of its blueberries for the Fourth of July from the Pacific Northwest, said Cindy Jewell, the company’s director of marketing.
“The early forecast is for the week before the Fourth” as the beginning of the Northwest deal, Jewell said. “California should be winding down pretty significantly by then.”
While it was too soon to predict how the transition would go, Jewell was optimistic as of June 4.
“As of now, we’re looking at making a pretty good run at the Fourth.”
Volumes should be seasonally normal for the Fourth, which bodes well for promotions, Jewell said. Markets were tighter and volumes lower than normal out of California in early June thanks to erratic growing weather, she said.
California Giant expects a big boost in its Northwest production this year, following similar increases in its Chilean and California programs, Jewell said.
The USDA reported prices of $18-20 for flats of 12 1-pint cups of medium and large California blueberries, down from $20-22 last year.
Strawberry quality and volumes, meanwhile, should be very good for the Fourth, Jewell said. The “June gloom” — the seasonal foggy conditions that Jewell said strawberry plants love — was pushing up yields.
“It was a little slow after Memorial Day, but it’s starting to pick up,” she said. “It’s smooth sailing right now.”
The USDA reported prices of $12-13 for flats of 12 1-pint baskets of medium and large California strawberries, up from $10-12 last year.
Adel, Ga.-based Borders Melons East, a part of Edinburg, Texas-based Borders Melon Co. Inc., will likely kick off its Georgia watermelon deal later than normal, said Mark Paulk, salesman and general manager.
“It’s still hard to tell” whether the company will able to take full advantage of Fourth promotions, Paulk said. “It could be a race to get them in time. We’ll have more after the Fourth than normal.”
Cool, wet weather during planting accounted for the late start, Paulk said.
The USDA reported prices of 21 and 22 cents per pound for 24-inch bins of red seedless 36s from Florida, down from 22 to 24 cents last year.