Cold spring pushes back some Georgia commodities

05/09/2013 11:47:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Growers expect the abnormally warm winter followed by a cold March to push back the start for many Georgia spring commodities.

Low temperatures, heavy rains and hail could cause some supply gaps and grower-shippers report most vegetables are running later than normal.

Steve Sterling, salesman for Fresh Link Consolidation LLC, the Lake Park, Ga., sales firm for Coggins Farm and Produce Inc., said the overall deal should run about two weeks later than usual.

“The front end of this crop on virtually everything with maybe the exception of pepper could be spotty,” Sterling said in late April.

“The squash, cucumbers and beans, I think they would be spotty with supplies because we had so much rain. Some cooler weather will make for some gaps.”

Sy Katz Produce Inc., which ships from Florida to Michigan, planned to start harvesting its Southern vegetables May 10, about two weeks behind normal.

Owen Margolis, president of the Boone, N.C.-based operation, said there could be some complications between central Florida and south Georgia.

“Plant City (Fla.) is a week to two weeks late,” Margolis said in early May.

“With Georgia being a little late, we hope the transition will be smooth, but there could be a gap between the two areas, depending on how the weather turns out between now and then.”

Late but good quality

Most crops are at least five days later than usual, said Dug Schwalls, sales director for Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable Inc., Norman Park, Ga.

“The crops all look great,” he said in late April.

“With it being so behind schedule, we have had some good weather over the past few weeks. We haven’t had any bloom drop, but everything is just behind schedule. For the most part, everything is really healthy looking.”

Calvert Cullen, president of Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., Cheriton, Va., said Georgia production will be up to a week to 10 days later than usual.

“So far, everything is looking good,” Cullen said in late April.

“We didn’t get the hailstorms some of the other areas around us got. We received a lot of rain earlier — up to 20 inches — which kind of set everything back.”

Joey Johnson, president of J&S Produce Inc., Mount Vernon, Ga., said last spring went well for squash and green bean growers.

“The beans this season are looking really good,” he said in late April. “We are excited about getting started up here.”


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