Freezes disrupt eggplant, damage some radishes

03/02/2012 10:31:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

“The growing season has been fine. We have had a warmer winter. Eggplant struggles when it’s cold.”

Florida Specialties’ growers plan to begin harvesting in late March.

South Florida volume normally ends or slows after Christmas while spring volume resumes in late March and runs through late May. Winter production remains focused in Homestead and the warmer East Coast growing regions.

Central Florida production typically begins in mid-March and runs through mid-May.

Radishes

The early January cold weather caused only minor problems to south Florida’s radish crop.

“Some of the weather-related problems gave us a little gap here and there, but we will have steady supplies all the through into the spring,” Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, said in late February.

Biederman said radishes remain a consistent item, not subject to high volume spikes. He called prices stable.

The USDA in late February reported cartons of topped red 30 6-ounce film bags from south Florida selling for $5.95-6.95; carton topped 14 1-pound film bags red, $6.45-7.05; 25-pound film bags topped red, $9.95-10.95; 40-pound film bags red, $14.95.

In late February last season, the USDA reported cartons of topped red 30 6-ounce film bags from south Florida selling for $5.95; 14 1-pound film bags red, $6.45; 25-pound film bags topped red, $9.95; 40-pound film bags red, $14.85.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of Oviedo-based A. Duda & Sons Inc., plans to harvest radishes through mid-May.

Jason Bedsole, sales manager of Eastern vegetables and citrus, said the deal is producing a strong crop.

“The quality and volumes are good,” he said in late February. “Demand has been good.”

South Florida radish production typically starts by early November and runs through late May.

Broccoli

Florida is producing high quality broccoli this season.

“The quality has been excellent,” Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., said in late February. “Yields are incredible.”

Despite a low California market, Lytch said Florida growers are receiving $8-10 for 20-pound cartons of iced and iceless broccoli depending on the contract compared to the $5.50 markets California growers fetch. 

He said the market remained depressed for more than a month and in late February said it was starting to turn around. 


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