BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Despite planting gaps, buyers should expect adequate volume of green beans during Florida’s fall and winter seasons, although prices are up almost 100% from last year.
Because of heavy rains during early fall plantings, however, that volume won’t be as strong as it normally is during the early part of the season, grower-shippers report.
That could keep prices higher than normal, shippers say.
Gary Stafford, a salesman and green beans manager for the South Bay-based Hugh H. Branch Inc., said he expects pre-Thanksgiving volume to be about 50% of normal.
Regular promotable volume won’t hit until early December, he said in late October.
“Volume won’t be down for the deal, but it will be lighter before Thanksgiving, and then will build after the holiday,” Stafford said. “It will only be a slow start-up. We anticipate everything will be fine.”
The bean market increased from $14-16 from Georgia in early and mid-October to $22-24 during late October, shippers report.
Fall prices are about double from last season.
In late October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported $24.35-24.85 for bushel cartons/crates of machine-picked and handpicked round green beans from south Georgia and central and south Florida districts.
Last year in mid-October, the USDA reported $12.35-14.85 for bushel cartons/crates of machine-picked and handpicked round green beans from south Georgia.
Pioneer Growers Co-op planned to begin harvesting in Homestead and Belle Glade in early November.
Jon Browder, sales manager, agreed early volumes won’t be high but said he expects volume to build and become heavier toward Thanksgiving.
“The beans are looking good,” he said in late October. “We should be in regular volume by Thanksgiving.”
Browder said Georgia was producing lighter than normal volume in early and mid-October.
Calvert Cullen, president of Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., Cheriton, Va., said lighter Georgia volume is keeping prices high.
“North Carolina is being hindered in harvesting because of the rains,” he said in mid-October. “Georgia started but isn’t harvesting every day. They’re down 30%.”
Florida Specialties Inc., Immokalee, planned to begin harvesting on time in early November.
Chris Tordonato, sales manager, said volume should quickly ramp up to meet Thanksgiving and Christmas demand.
“The crop is looking good so far,” he said in late October. “The quality looks excellent.”