“The key to the desert deal is planting the right varieties at the right time of the year,” Burton said. “The word from our farming management team is this is one of the best crops we’ve ever had out there.”
The weather this season has been exceptional, Burton said.
In the Imperial Valley to the south, Jon Vessey, owner and president of Vessey & Co. Inc., Holtville, Calif., said he planned to start picking some bell peppers in late April.
“The bell pepper crop has been hurt a little bit,” he said.
The region endured some heavy winds the week of April 8, he said, and could see a loss as high as 20% of the crop.
“They just break off with these heavy winds,” he said.
It was too early to tell in mid-April what effect the winds will have on size and quality of the peppers, he said.
Uesugi Farms Inc., Gilroy, Calif., markets Vessey’s peppers.
Although green bell peppers have been long been the most popular variety, Burton said consumers who like the red ones seem to have more passion for peppers, and the red have made major inroads and appear to be just as popular, if not more so, than green peppers.
The elongated, field-grown red peppers in particular have attracted a strong following, he said, since they mix well with salads, can add zest to fajitas or be eaten fresh.
At Prime Time International, Aiton said red peppers are the most popular, followed by green, then yellow and orange.