Desert vegetables ready for good winter season

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

Baloian Farms plans to market desert-grown cauliflower for the first time this season, Lane said.

“We’ve planted sizeable acreage. We’ll be a good supplier,” he said.

Thermal area growers use third-party daily audits to gauge the quality of their produce, Lane said.

The Baloian Farms-Delk Farms partnership ranks No. 1 in leaf lettuce and spinach most of the time, he said.

The company will place equal emphasis on the cauliflower crop.

“That’s our goal to be No. 1,” Lane said. “It shows that we’re achieving our goals when third-party inspectors rank us No. 1.”

Salinas-based Coastline Produce will compete for that top ranking in the desert, but its cauliflower acreage is in the Brawley area, said Mark McBride, sales office manager.

Ocean Mist is another Salinas-based grower-shipper growing and packing cauliflower. The company’s cauliflower deal is grown in the Coachella Valley, Silacci said.

Eggplant

Coachella appears to be the desert’s winter eggplant capital.

The harvest began in October.

“The weather has been exceptional and the markets have been high,” Burton said. “The quality has been outstanding. We’ve had a great growing season.”

Peter Rabbit Farms plans to harvest eggplant until the first frost, which usually occurs in late December or early January, Burton said.

A close Coachella neighbor, Prime Time Sales, also is marketing eggplant again this season.
Prime Time, too, has an outstanding crop, Taylor said.

Green beans

Coastline has made the commitment to offering customers a year round supply of bagged green beans, McBride said, and the winter desert crop is a link in that supply chain.

The desert harvest will mark the end of the company’s first full year of marketing its bagged green beans.

“Most of the green beans are shipped in a 6- by 12-ounce retail bag pack, but we also have a 4- by 2-pound foodservice carton,” McBride said.

The desert green bean season is relatively short.

Prime Time Sales should ship beans through November, Taylor said.

Peter Rabbit Farms is bringing back green beans for the winter after laying off the commodity last year, Burton said.

Because the beans were planted in two different blocks, the company should have supplies into December.

“We’re scheduled to start harvesting the first block Nov. 9, but the second block won’t start until Nov. 20-23,” Burton said in late October.

Spinach

The start of the winter spinach season at Baloian Farms is scheduled for late November, Lane said.



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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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