New Jersey growers are hoping for a better summer after an exceptionally wet growing season in 2013.
Unfortunately, colder, wetter weather this spring has already slowed some crops.
“We’re already three weeks behind schedule on our Jersey product,” said Jamie Graiff, co-owner of Newfield, N.J.-based Daniel Graiff Farms LLC.
“It’s been colder and wetter. We haven’t really had spring yet and we might jump right into summer now,” Graiff said.
Planting was later this year because of lingering winter weather.
“Normally, we get in with planting in early March. This year we weren’t planting until the end of March or beginning of April,” he said.
Graiff expected to have baby spinach and arugula and spring mix shipping from New Jersey the last week in May.
“The stuff coming out should be good quality. It’s just a little late,” he said.
Ryan Flaim, of R&R Flaim Next Generation Produce LLC, Vineland, N.J., said his company’s crops went into the ground on schedule but things have been moving in slow motion since then.
“It’s been 10 or 15 degrees colder on average, so we’re certainly not overwhelmed with volume right now, but the quality has been very good,” he said.
“It’s just been so cold,” said John Formisano, president of Formisano Farms, Buena, N.J.
Despite low temperatures and a long winter, growers are hopeful.
“We hope it’s an exciting season. The weather seems just OK right now, and the rains were certainly extreme last year,” Formisano said.
Bill Nardelli, president of Cedarville, N.J.-based Nardelli Bros. Inc., said he thinks the season is starting to catch up to where it should be.
“I think things will start to equalize as we move forward. It’s been warmer recently, so things are coming along nicely,” he said.
Others agreed that things are looking better than last year.
Tom Sheppard, president of Cedarville, N.J.-based Eastern Fresh Growers Inc., said last year’s squash and pepper crops were disappointing, but that this year is looking better.
“We’re hoping for a whole lot better weather season this year. Last year was the wettest June and July, so the squash was a disaster and the pepper crop was about half what it should have been,” Sheppard said.
So far, he has expectations for 2014 to be a lot more normal.
“We started asparagus around the 15th of April, which is normal, and the peppers, cukes and squash should all be normal, too,” he said.
Formisano said the company was already shipping small amounts of product by May 20 but that he expected harvest to pick up in a week or two.
“It’s very few shipments right now. We should really get into it next week,” he said.
Flaim said he hopes to be ready with eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and other summer crop items for the Fourth of July push.
“We’re hoping to hit the market for those promotions,” he said.