Light early volumes on tap as desert crop starts

11/14/2013 11:00:00 AM
Mike Hornick

In bell peppers, Prime Time International LLC, Coachella, Calif., was among the first to benefit from steady demand for the crop. It started green bells by mid-October, about a week sooner than usual.

“We were fortunate to start early because the market was ready for them,” said Mike Aiton, director of marketing at Prime Time International. “The turnover and prices have been very good.”

“Compared to the last couple of years, which were not terrific for the pepper deal, summer supply was a bit shorter just because there was less acreage,” said Gene Coughlin, category director for peppers at Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World International. “Pricing seemed to hold better through the summer, and that kept going into the fall deal.”

Baloian Farms, which loads desert product in Thermal, Calif., started green bell pepper production in the region Oct. 28.

“We were hoping to start reds, minis and babies in about two weeks, but it’s a little cooler now so it could be as late as three weeks,” Baloian sales manager Jeremy Lane said Nov. 4.

Sun World expected to start its field-grown elongated red peppers – Le Rouge Royale – in the desert the week of Nov. 4, Coughlin said, followed by yellows in mid-November.


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