Heat elsewhere helps Ohio vegetable deal

08/02/2006 12:00:00 AM
Pamela Riemenschneider

(Aug. 2) Ohio grower-shippers report strong demand for vegetables this summer, which they say is a welcome change from the past two years of slow sales.

“It’s good,” said Jeff Zellers, vice president of K.W. Zellers & Son Inc., Hartville, Ohio. “Basically whatever we can get harvested is what we can sell.”

However, Zellers said July 31 heavy rain could affect volumes.

Other grower-shippers consider themselves lucky to have missed the downpours, said Chad Buurma, vice president of Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc.

“We’ve missed some very bad weather all around us,” he said. “It seems like we’ve caught the rain just when we needed it.”

Buurma said heat is the primary concern now.

Pricing and demand are stronger than last year, said Kirk Holthouse, sales manager at Holthouse Farms of Ohio Inc., Willard.

Holthouse said heat in California and other growing regions and high fuel prices are causing the higher prices.

PRICES

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not report prices from Ohio. Holthouse said 48-count bunched cartons of green onions, dill and cilantro were selling for about $15 f.o.b. and parsley for about $13 f.o.b.

The USDA reported on Aug. 1 green onions from the Lexington district of South Carolina selling for $10-15 compared to $8-10 at the same time last year. Parsley from the Central Coast in California selling for $8-10.50, compared to $7.50-10 last year.

Demand from customers that normally would buy out of California has increased, Buurma said.

Buurma Farms is into the full line of summer vegetables, Buurma said. Most crops started in mid-May. Peppers and cucumbers started in mid-July and corn the last week of July, he said.

Volumes should start declining in mid-October and be done by about Nov. 10, he said.

Zellers also said his company finish harvesting parsley, romaine, red and green leaf lettuces, mixed greens and cilantro by mid- to late-October.



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