Barkdull added that the hot pepper deal should be good as well. Uesugi is a year-round shipper of California-grown hot peppers, producing jalapeño, serrano and the bhut jolokia, or ghost peppers.
On the opposite coast, peppers are expected to be plentiful, producing strong markets, as well.
“It’s been going well, especially here in the spring,” said Jim Monteith, sales manager at Bradenton, Fla.-based Can-Am. The pepper deal, both bell and specialty, is new for the company this year, and Monteith said it was off to a good start. “This was the strongest pepper market I’d seen in April in several years,” he said. “We’re in peak volume now and should stay that way until we start to trail off by the first of June in the Sarasota area.”
Bobby Creel, director of business development, L&M Cos., Raleigh, N.C., said its Florida and Georgia deals overlap.
“Our north Florida and south Georgia volume will be heavy from around May 20 until we finish around the first week of July,” he said.
North Carolina peppers are set to start around June 20, wrapping up at the end of July, followed by the Michigan deal running August through Oct. 10, Creel added.
Plants are looking good in the greenhouse and are ready to be transplanted to fields, with harvest expected by mid-July, said Tom Sheppard, vice president of Sheppard Farms and president of its sister company, Eastern Fresh Growers, Inc., Cedarville, N.J.
In Ohio, transplanting of green pepper plants should begin by May 15, with the first harvest at the end of July, said Ben Wiers, vice president of operations at Wiers Farm, Willard, Ohio.
“Everything’s setting up so that it should start on time, and there might even be a slight increase (in volume),” Wiers said.
In the hothouse market, supply and quality remains consistent. “It’s a controlled environment so we can grow pretty consistently throughout the year,” said Nancy Pickersgill, event and communications manager at Mastronardi Produce, Kingsville, Ontario.
Thanks to an additional 10 acres of bells, volumes at Surrey, British Columbia–based BC Hot House Foods Inc. should increase again this year, said Kevin Batt, director of sales. The May harvest is expected to be abundant, and Batt anticipates an even greater increase for 2013 because of the addition of new growers and an acreage expansion.