Yuma lettuce volume to pick up by mid-March

03/01/2006 12:00:00 AM
Darcy Devictor

(March 1) Lighter-than-normal lettuce volumes out of Yuma, Ariz., the last week of February were expected to pick up in early to mid-March.

The last week of February was light because of cold mornings and hot days, said Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, executive vice president of sales and marketing for D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California, Salinas.

“That’s slowed everything down,” she said Feb. 28. “We’ll be back up to normal as of this week. It looks like normal numbers going forward, and the worst is behind us.”

Production for D’Arrigo Bros. in Yuma lasts until the end of March and begins in Huron, Calif., March 13, she added.

For Castroville-based Ocean Mist Farms, iceberg production in Yuma wrapped up Feb. 27 and shifted to Texas Hill, Ariz., on March 1, said Joe Feldman, vice president of sales and marketing.

Light volumes will last through the first week of March, but should even out during the week starting March 13, when two production areas overlap, said Gabriel Fletes, field commodity manager for head lettuce at Ocean Mist.

“After the week of the 20th, we’ll be full throttle on both ends, so that’s where we’re really overlapping,” he said.

Production out of Texas Hill should last through the end of March, and Huron production starts March 18, he said.

Plantings are on schedule in Huron, where the weather has been cooperative, though some cooler temperatures have slowed things a little bit, Fletes added.

PRICES

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Feb. 28 that cartons of 24s out of Arizona were fetching $12-12.45, while film-lined 24s brought $12-13.85 and film-wrapped 24s brought $13-14.85.

That more than doubles last year’s prices of $5-5.35 for cartons of 24s and $7.10-9 for film-wrapped 24s, according to the USDA.



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