Regular cucumber, squash and eggplant deals predicted

11/11/2013 02:11:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Retailers can expect Florida to supply adequate volumes of cucumbers, squash and eggplant this fall.

Georgia typically finishes shipments by late November, and grower-shippers say they look for smooth transitions from Georgia to Florida.

Cucumbers

Because of shorter Georgia volume, early fall brought higher-than-normal prices.

As supplies returned and Florida began production, markets declined.

“There have been ample cucumbers for the last couple of weeks,” Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., said in late October. “But as Georgia is finishing and Florida is getting started, things are firming up a little. As Georgia slows from the cool weather and things have been cooler in Florida, demand seems to be picking up.”

L&M is scheduled to begin harvesting in south Florida in early November.

In late October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons of waxed medium cucumbers from south Georgia selling for $10.35-10.85 with cartons of 24s for $4.35-4.50 and those same cartons from central and south Florida fetching $8.35-10.35 for mediums and $2.50-3.50 for the cartons of 24s.

J&J Family of Farms Inc., Loxahatchee, planned to begin harvesting in early November.

“They look good so far,” Brian Rayfield, vice president of business development and marketing, said in late October. “The market this summer has been erratic. Prices have been higher due to erratic weather.”

Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., Cheriton, Va., plans to begin south Florida harvesting in early November as usual.

“We are expecting good quality,” Calvert Cullen, president, said in late October. “We should have decent volume this season.”

Brian Arrigo, president of Southern Corporate Packers Inc., planned to start harvest in early November.

He said cucumber acreage should be consistent.

“Last year, we didn’t have real strong markets when we were in our window,” Arrigo said.

Production typically finishes by late December.

Squash

Early fall production in many U.S. and Canadian growing regions is keeping squash prices lower than usual.

L&M started harvesting in north Florida in early October and planned to begin south Florida harvesting Nov. 5.

Because of cooler weather, L&M went from picking squash every day or every other day to every third day in north Florida, Lytch said.

“The cool weather slows squash more than anything,” he said. “The market has been depressed during the last couple of weeks but it’s kicking up. We expect it to continue to do so as Florida comes into production.”

In late October, the USDA reported these prices from south Georgia: half-bushel cartons of small zucchini for $6.35-8.85 and medium for $4.35-6.85; small yellow straightneck squash for $6.35-8.85 and medium for $5.35-6.85; and small yellow crookneck squash for $10.35-12.85 and medium for $6.35-8.85.

From Florida, the USDA reported half-bushel cartons of small zucchini going for $6.35-7.35 and medium for $4.35-5.35; and small yellow straightneck going for $5.35-6.35 and medium for $4-4.35.

“Demand is very strong, and volume has been very good in Georgia,” J&J’s Rayfield said. “We’ve had good prices.”

Though Georgia plans to harvest through Thanksgiving, Rayfield said the transition to Florida should work well.

Southern Corporate Packers Inc., planned to start harvest in early November.

“Quality looks perfect,” Brian Arrigo, president, said in late October. “We’ve had great growing conditions. Though we’ve had a lot of rain, overall, we’re real happy with the deal.”

Eggplant

Buyers can expect adequate eggplant supplies for the Thanksgiving and Christmas pull, L&M’s Lytch said.

“We’re shaping up to have consistent supply,” he said in late October. “In Georgia and Florida, when (the plants) were young, they went through most of the rains. Considering they experienced all of that, they look real good.”

L&M started harvesting in north Florida in late October, begin south Florida harvesting in mid-November and finish Georgia production in mid-November.

In late October, the USDA reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons from south Georgia selling for $10.35-10.85 for mediums with $6.35-8.85 for large.

“In Florida, they’re looking well,” Cullen said. “We are expecting good supplies, and barring any weather issues we should see good quality.”



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