BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Surviving the cold January weather, South Florida’s celery, lettuce and radish deals are continuing and grower-shippers expect normal harvesting.
Growers consistently harvest product throughout the winter after the deals, grown primarily in Palm Beach County, typically begin in early to mid-December.
In late winter, Florida growers were undergoing typical celery markets following an oversupply in California production, said Jason Bedsole, sales manager of eastern vegetables and citrus for Oviedo-based Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of A. Duda & Sons Inc.
Growers were harvesting high quality celery, he said in late February.
“Everything’s going well,” Bedsole said. “We are seeing high quality. Yield and movement are also good.”
Celery demand remains strong and during the growing season, growers experienced some demand exceeds supply situations, he said.
In late February, the USDA reported cartons and crates of 2-, 2 ½- and 3 dozen from South Florida selling for $7.95-8.95 and cartons of film bags of hearts 18s selling for $14.50-15.50.
Last season in late February, the USDA reported cartons and crates of 2-, 2 ½- and 3 dozen from South Florida selling for $22.95 and cartons of film bags of hearts 18s selling for $16.95-17.95.
Duda plans to finish harvesting in late April, as usual, Bedsole said.
Pioneer Growers Co-op expects to finish harvesting in late March.
He said cooler January weather cut yields and produced smaller sizes but spring production was improving.
“Celery quality has been very nice this year,” Browder said in late February.
South Florida’s lettuce crop survived the cold January temperatures and grower-shippers in late February were harvesting quality product.
“All the leaves are fine and the cooler weather actually makes for better quality,” Dan Shiver, co-owner of South Bay-based Hugh H. Branch Inc., said in late February. “The quality is excellent. The consistency has been good and is comparable to most years. Prices aren’t great, but there has been an abundant crop out west. The prices haven’t been bad, but there have been no real ups in the market. It’s been consistent.”
Branch’s acreage is similar to past years, Shiver said, and growers have been harvesting consistent volumes.