Desert vegetables ready for good winter season

11/13/2009 12:50:00 PM
Don Schrack

“The yields are usually a little lower for the fall-winter deal, but the quality is a tick higher because of the slower growing,” he said.

The market for the peppers was excellent through October, with demand exceeding supply, Burton said.

Broccoli

The traditional No. 2 entry in the desert’s winter line up is broccoli.

Brawley-based Five Crowns will be growing and packing broccoli again this winter for Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, said Joe Colace, a partner in Five Crowns.

 Ocean Mist also will be growing rapini, also known as broccoli rabe, in the Brawley area, Silacci said.

Salinas-based D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California will follow suit, growing broccoli and broccoli rabe in the Brawley area, said Margaret D’Arrigo-Martin, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Brawley-grown broccoli rabe was introduced last season as iceless, precut and prewashed tips for foodservice.

It carries the company’s familiar Andy Boy label.

Moving the broccoli crop from Arizona to California was strictly a business decision, D’Arrigo-Martin said.

“We’re hoping for better yields in the Imperial Valley,” she said.

D’Arrigo Bros. plans to ship full and half loads from Brawley with smaller loads transferred to Yuma for shipping.

The broccoli harvest is scheduled to begin immediately after the Thanksgiving weekend, D’Arrigo-Martin said, and will continue through March.

Desert-grown broccoli also will be coming from Boggiatto Produce. The start of the broccoli harvest will be about Nov. 30 and will continue through March, Boggiatto said.

Cabbage

Holtville-based Imperial Sales plans to market desert-grown broccoli, but the big change in the company’s inventory this season is the addition of cabbage, said owner Cliff Smith.

Imperial Sales plans to market green cabbage for the first time in more than a decade, he said.

“We’re betting on an El Niño year,” Smith said.

When El Niño conditions are present on the West Coast, heavy rains tend to knock out the Oxnard and Santa Maria cabbage crops, Smith said, and open Texas to crop-killing freezes.

“I hate to wish bad luck on anyone, but we’re just banking on the El Niño,” he said.

Cabbage remains a staple at Vessey & Co. Inc., Holtville, said Jack Vessey, vice president.
The company also markets bok choy and napa, he said.

Boggiatto Produce, as it has for many years, also is growing desert cabbage.

Cauliflower



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Dana Larson    
Indio/Yucca Valley  |  September, 16, 2011 at 12:41 AM

Thank you for the break down of desert winter crops! Now I have a good idea of what to plant in my new garden, what to research, etc... -Desert food enthusiast

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