Though the freezes hurt Belle Glade winter beans, buyers should expect South Florida’s bean deal to begin in early to mid-March as usual, grower-shippers report.
“The quality is really good,” Stafford said in late February. “Unless we get some type of weather event, we are expecting a normal spring start. Overall, the deal’s acreage should be similar to a year ago.”
Last fall brought strong demand and favorable prices for Branch’s growers, Stafford said.
The reduced volume sent prices soaring to $45 a carton in mid-January, said Pioneer’s Browder.
Though Pioneer’s growers planned to begin harvesting in early March, larger volumes aren’t expected to enter the marketplace until early April, he said.
“Barring any weather issues, we should have decent volume going forward every week through the spring,” Browder said in late February.
In southwest Florida, the cold limited production but the crop improved as spring approached, said Chris Tordonato, sales manager of Immokalee-based Florida Specialties Inc.
Some spring beans weren’t in the ground when the freezes struck and Florida Specialties planned to begin harvest in early March.
“The spring plantings are fine and we are expecting normal spring production,” Tordonato said in late February.
Tordonato characterized winter quality as good and said markets were favorable.
In late February, the USDA reported bushel cartons/crates of handpicked round green beans from central and South Florida selling for $16.35 with machine-picked selling for $12.35-12.85.
Last year in late February, the handpicked sold for $20-22.85 with machine-picked at $19-22.85.
South Florida bean production normally finishes in mid-May as Georgia’s deal begins.