Eggplant, lettuce and celery are other leading Florida vegetables - The Packer

Eggplant, lettuce and celery are other leading Florida vegetables

11/03/2009 03:50:27 PM
Doug Ohlemeier


Doug Ohlemeier

Bert Ashton, vegetable farm manager for the Belle Glade, Fla., operation of Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of Oviedo, Fla.-based A. Duda & Sons Inc., examines some celery in late September. During the fall and winter, Florida grower-shippers send other vegetables, such as celery, eggplant, lettuce and radishes to the market. Duda plans to begin its celery pickings in late December.

Florida grower-shippers were expecting celery prices to firm up as they prepared to start their winter deal.

Florida’s harvesting normally begins in late December with promotable volumes hitting Jan. 1 through late April, depending on weather.

Though he characterized summer and early fall prices as lackluster, Bedsole said lower volumes after the end of production areas such as Michigan — and some companies having issues with production — should help increase the market.

“This is the time of the year when prices start to increase and move toward the holiday period,” Bedsole said in mid-October. “With Thanksgiving around the corner, there will be a lot of volume running through the system.”

Duda began transplanting its celery in September.

Florida volume and quality should be strong when the deal starts, Bedsole said.
Pioneer Growers Co-op returned to the celery deal two years ago.

It grows and ships its cabbage under the Grassy Waters label.

Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager, said buyers can look forward to strong product.
“Quality has been good,” he said. “Color is good.  Our celery has been received well.”

Pioneer plans to begin shipments in late December and pack through mid-April.
According to the USDA, cartons of 2 1/2 dozen from Salinas, Calif., in late October sold for $14.45-16.56.


Duda in mid-October was finishing its Michigan production and plans to start radish harvesting in early November.

Bedsole said he expects a planned seven- to 10-day overlap between the two growing regions to ensure consistent supplies.

Though south Florida experienced some heavy rains during planting, Bedsole said the wetness shouldn’t affect supplies and expects the deal to produce good quality radishes.

“We have good stands and are looking at good yields when we start,” he said in mid-October.
South Florida production normally runs through early to mid-May.

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