“Up here, prices are usually a little higher because buyers have less freight, it’s newer product and there’s more demand.”
Grower-shippers said good eggplants were hard to find in mid-April and kept prices a little higher than usual because Florida and Mexico were shipping lower supplies.
Northampton’s Cullen said Florida growers endured a rough winter.
Low temperatures harmed quality and sent prices to $22.85 a box for fancies compared to the $12-14 normal markets.
On May 6, the USDA reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons of mediums from central and south Florida selling for $20.35-20.85, with medium fair quality selling for $12-12.35.
Cullen said the transition from Florida to south Georgia normally goes well but said Georgia growers will likely want to begin as quickly as they can to help fill the expected void between the two regions.
Northampton plans to begin Georgia harvesting in late May, as usual.
“They are looking great,” Cullen said in late April. “They weren’t held back by the weather. They’re coming right along.”
Coggins plans to begin its eggplant harvesting in early June, with larger volume beginning in mid-June, Sterling said.
“The eggplant I’ve seen look great,” he said in late April. “There will be good volume of eggs. By mid-June, retailers will want to be putting them on ad.”
South Florida in late April wasn’t shipping many eggplants, said Southern Valley’s Schwalls.
For Georgia, Schwalls said eggplant quality looks strong.
Southern Valley plans to begin eggplant harvesting May 25.