Warm winter weather bolsters desert crops

11/11/2011 11:58:00 AM
Don Schrack

“We’re scheduled to begin harvesting celery in Oxnard about Nov. 10,” McBride said in late October.

“That deal will continue until about Jan. 10, when we’ll move to the Imperial Valley.”

There seems to be a resurgence in popularity of California-grown eggplant, particularly among retailers on the other side of the country.

“Eggplant has taken a turn for the positive for the first time in years,” said John Burton, general manager of Peter Rabbit Farms, Coachella, Calif. “Folks on the East Coast and in eastern Canada have been looking for eggplant from the West Coast.”

The late fall-early winter eggplant crop in Coachella has great color, he said.

At Peter Rabbit, the eggplant is cooled immediately after it is harvested, Burton said, and then tissue wrapped to prevent shipping burns before packing.

“We try to ship our eggplant the same day its picked,” Burton said.

Eggplant has about a two-week shelf life when the cold chain is properly maintained, he said.


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