(Oct. 17) Vegetable grower-shippers expect a smooth transition from Georgia to Florida, with markets strengthening when northern deals wind down in late October.
Barring an unexpected cold snap, Georgia and Florida should see a typical November overlap, with Sunshine State cucumbers beginning to ship at the beginning of the month and peppers and squash not far behind, said Sonny Casca, salesman for William Manis Co. Produce Marketing, Plant City, Fla.
The transition from Georgia to Florida should begin in the last week of October, predicted Jim Monteith, sales manager for Immokalee, Fla.-based Pacific Collier Fresh Co.
The company expects to begin shipping Florida squash about Oct. 24 and bell peppers two weeks later, Monteith said.
“The crops down here look very, very nice,” he said. “The weather’s been ideal. It’s been drier than usual for the rainy season, but we’ve gotten just enough down here. I have heard of some other Florida growers who have had some issues, though.”
On Oct. 16, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $12.85-14.85 for bushel cartons of round green machine-picked green beans from South Georgia, down from $20-20.85 last year at the same time.
One and one-ninth bushel cartons of medium waxed cucumbers from South Georgia were $12-14.85, up from $7-8.85 last year.
One and one-ninth bushel cartons of jumbo green bell peppers from South Georgia were $12.85-14.35, up from $12-12.85 last year.
Pacific Collier also dodged a bullet in Georgia, Monteith said, where growers of squash, cucumbers, beans and other commodities have lost crops to white fly infestation.
“For our fall peppers in Georgia, we’ve been lucky,” he said. “We’ve had some of the best we’ve ever seen, and I really can’t say why.”
White flies will have a minimal impact on Georgia vegetables this fall, and with cooler weather in mid-October, (the concern) was beginning to dissipate, said Shay Kennedy, co-owner, vice president and sales manager for Tifton-based Georgia Vegetable Co. Inc.
White flies and dry planting weather contributed to a slower start than usual, Kennedy said, but quality on beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers and other vegetables was good.
Both Southeastern states are expected to turn out ample supplies of high-quality vegetables this fall, Casca said.
“The quality is excellent in Florida, and the Georgia deal looks good, too,” he said. “We haven’t had any adverse weather conditions in Florida.”
Markets should flatten out in the latter half of October, then pick up as local veg deals are phased out and Thanksgiving promotions ramp up, Casca said.