BELLE GLADE, Fla. — A later Georgia start that’s brought smaller volume to the market is keeping green bean prices high during the early fall.
Pioneer Growers Co-op planned to begin harvesting south Georgia beans in late October, a couple of weeks later than normal.
Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager, called overall early fall volume as lighter than normal.
“We have a little lighter volume due to the later start,” Biederman said. “We’re hoping f.o.b.s stay fairly high.”
Biederman said Pioneer’s growers expect to begin harvesting small volumes in early November.
In late October, Gary Stafford, salesman and green beans manager with Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, said Georgia supplies remained light because of cool weather slowing harvest.
Branch’s growers plan to start harvesting their south Florida green beans Nov. 10-12, on time. Stafford said growers should increase their volume each week and said the Glades producing region should bring moderate to good supplies for Thanksgiving.
“My understanding is that south Florida planted acreage may be slightly less than a year ago,” Stafford said Oct. 24.
“Ours should be about the same. It’s still early but right now, the outlook looks good. We expect a normal crop season and anticipate we will plant at least as much throughout the cycle and maybe even slightly more than we did a year ago.”
Stafford said Georgia prices vary daily.
Prices in late October began falling as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported bushel cartons/crates of machine-picked round green beans from south Georgia selling for $17.35-18.35. In early and mid-October, the USDA reported those same cartons/crates from south Georgia selling for $25.35-28.35.
Last season in mid-October, the USDA reported bushel cartons/crates of precooled round green beans machine-picked from south Georgia selling for $20.35-21.85, down from early October when those cartons sold for $23.35-25.85.
For Immokalee area production, Florida Specialties Inc., Immokalee, plans to begin harvesting on-time in early November, said Chris Tordonato, sales manager.
Tordonato said lack of supply from Virginia and North Carolina during early fall came after Hurricane Irene brought torrential rains to growing regions.
In mid-October, he said Georgia was just starting regular volume and said bean prices remained high because fewer growers were harvesting during the transition from Mid-Atlantic production to the start of Georgia production.
“As we head into Thanksgiving, the market should generally be pretty strong,” Tordonato said.
“Plantings look good. Without any disruption, we should have a positive outlook going forward.”
Tordonato said Immokalee area acreage likely remains similar to last season.
Though he declined to state specific acreage or volume, Tordonato said the grower-shipper and fresh-cut processor’s acreage declined by a small amount.
Thanks to its long bean growing experience, Pero Family Farms, Delray Beach, didn’t short its customers after freezes that destroyed much of the state’s green beans in 2010 and winter 2011, said Nick Bergstrom, chief sales officer.
“God forbid we have more winter seasons like last year,” Bergstrom said.
Georgia volume normally finishes around Thanksgiving.
Belle Glade’s deal typically ends around Memorial Day and Homestead production usually runs through early May, while Immokalee area harvesting runs through mid- to late May.