Long winter pushes back deals - The Packer

Long winter pushes back deals

06/10/2014 04:43:00 PM
Andy Nelson

BYRON CENTER, Mich. — Michigan grower-shippers were happy to see spring finally arrive this year.

“Winter was too long,” said Dave Miedema, co-owner of E. Miedema & Sons. “Everything was pushed back.”

Weather was unseasonably cold until about the week of May 5, Miedema said.

Miedema & Sons typically has started transplanting cabbage from greenhouses to fields by April 1, Miedema said. This year the company didn’t start planting until April 15.

By mid-May, however, Mother Nature was starting to give Miedema and other Michigan growers a break.

“We’ve made up some ground,” Miedema said May 13. “We’ve had some favorable weather and we haven’t had any frost.”

Cabbage harvest for Miedema & Sons could start by June 20, a week later than normal, with volume by July 1. Shipments should run through mid-November.

The company’s sweet corn crop was less affected by the cold start to spring than cabbage was, Miedema said.

“We were able to start planting about April 18, right on target, and we’ve been planting 80 acres a week since.”

Rain delayed planting the week of April 12, he said, but the company planted more the week before to compensate.

Miedema & Sons expects to start picking corn about July 20, with peak volumes expected by Aug. 1. The company will likely ship through mid-September.

“We usually hit it hard until Labor Day before tailing off,” he said.

Miedema & Sons’ acreage on cabbage and corn should be similar to last year, Miedema said.

The company also expects to hold steady on its summer and winter squash volumes this year, with about 320 acres planted.

Miedema & Sons expects to ship zucchini from about June 20 through September.

Rain in mid-May gave crops grown by Sodus-based Leitz Farms LLC a nice boost, said Fred Leitz, the company’s principal.

“It’s been dry. This was the first significant rain since the 1st of April. We’re happy to see it.”

Leitz Farms should begin harvesting cucumbers in late June, grape tomatoes and cantaloupes in mid-July, romas at the end of July and rounds about Aug. 1, Leitz said.

Also reporting late starts to the summer Michigan deals was Byron Center-based Van Solkema Produce, said Talbert Nething, the company’s sales manager.

Van Solkema could begin shipping radishes about June 1, squash in mid-June, cabbage at the end of June or in early July, cucumbers about July 10, celery about July 15 and carrots July 15-20.

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