SunSelect’s production, from April through October, complements production from Oppenheimer’s Mexican bell pepper supplier, Guadalajara, Mexico-based Divemex SA. Divemex’s heaviest production is from December through June, Batt said.
SunSelect’s production is expected to be slightly more this season than last because it added 10 more acres, bringing its total to 70 acres of bell peppers.
Aiton expected Prime Time to be shipping red and green bell peppers from Coachella and red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers from San Diego by mid-May. June, when Coachella’s peak production is expected, is a good time for red bell pepper promotions, he said. Promotions and advertisements need to be scheduled so California’s pepper crop can be marketed.
“The crop can’t be moved at the prices we’re at right now,” Aiton said. “We encourage everyone not to write off peppers. We can have a big impact by promoting them and getting people back in the habit of buying them.”
Prime Time provides a year-round supply of bell peppers. After Coachella, Prime Time’s harvesting moves to Bakersfield, Calif., then to the coast near Oxnard, Calif. Later it moves back to Mexico.
Some growers in Mexico and Canada took advantage of the high market for green bell peppers by harvesting red bells when they were still green, grower-shippers said. That created tight supplies of red bell peppers, which were beginning to increase by the week of April 19.
For BC Hot House, the early picking meant its Mexican colored bell pepper season ended early, Laker said. The company finished its Mexican season in early April. It began shipping British Columbia-grown peppers in March, but supplies of colored bells were tight for a couple of weeks.
By late April, supplies of Canadian peppers were increasing steadily, Laker said.
BC Hot House supplies red, yellow and orange bell peppers and a small volume of green bell peppers, which it picks primarily for stoplight packages.