Steady economic conditions have Ohio vegetable growers looking ahead to a sales year comparable to 2012.
“I think it will be similar to last year — with decent demand all the way through,” said Loren Buurma, co-owner of Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc.
The unemployment rate in Ohio was 7% in April 2013, compared to a national average of 7.5%. The state’s jobless rate was down from 7.3% a year earlier.
Buurma said other factors will figure into final sales numbers, though.
Weather conditions probably top the worries, he said.
“But we’ll have product available in the qualities we’ve had in the past,” he said.
Experience is a good guide in knowing what to expect, Buurma said.
“We’ve been at this for 117 years, so we don’t make any major adjustments, but if we see trends where we see an increase in consumption in a certain product — kale, for instance — we’ll plant more acreage,” he said.
Demand for other items may decrease, and, as a result, so will plantings, he said.
Don Bettinger, president of Swanton, Ohio-based Bettinger Farms Inc., also said the weather outlook at the end of May was positive.
“I think it will be as good as any other year, dependent on the weather, and I don’t expect any big increases or decreases,” he said.
Prices likely will hold steady from a year ago, he said.
Scott Michael, president of Urbana, Ohio-based Michael Farms, said 2013 likely will present a chance for significant sales increases over the past few years.
“I think we’ll probably have a little better opportunity than the last three years,” he said.
He also said he was “eternally optimistic” in his appraisals.
Michael also said sales could vary widely from vendor to vendor.
“We can be sold out of stuff day after day and yet maybe the whole region is maybe not selling as much produce as the average year,” he said.
Nobody really knows what to expect this year, said Ben Wiers, president of Willard-based grower-shipper Wiers Farm Inc.
“I think we’re going to have a decent year because the economy is picking up,” said Wiers, whose company offers vegetables under the Dutch Maid label.