Hot weather could start Florida peppers early - The Packer

Hot weather could start Florida peppers early

11/03/2009 03:50:37 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Coming off low early fall prices, the bell pepper market is increasing slightly as Florida grower-shippers start fall pickings.

Higher-than-normal temperatures are also said to accelerate Florida harvesting, growers reported.

Central Florida grower-shippers planned to begin pickings in mid- to late October.

Dean Wiers, sales manager of Willard, Ohio-based Wiers Farm Inc., which has Florida production through Wiers-Turner Farms LLC, Palmetto, characterized the crop as satisfactory.

Doug Ohlemeier

Jim Monteith, sales manager for Pacific Collier Fresh Co., Immokalee, Fla., inspects some bell peppers in late September. Central and south Florida grower-shippers say a hotter than normal growing season has prompted them to begin pickings a little earlier than normal. Central Florida began harvesting Oct. 19 while south Florida in the Immokalee area planned to start in early November.

“The crop looks good but it’s a little uneven due to some earlier rains, but the crop is coming back nicely,” he said in mid-October. “We didn’t lose anything completely, but the area stands a little uneven because of the heavy rains.”

Wiers said he didn’t expect the rains to cause any quality problems.

Wiers-Turner began shipments Oct. 19.

Hot growing season

After higher-than-normal October temperatures, south Florida production started a week earlier than normal in late October, said Jim Monteith, sales manager for Pacific Collier Fresh Co.

“Everything has been going very well,” he said in mid-October. “The growing season is moving along down here in Immokalee as planned, but we are seeing some extreme hot temperatures as of late and I look for squash and bell pepper possibly starting a week earlier due to the hot conditions.”

Early fall pepper prices this season were low, and sold for around $8 for jumbos, similar to last spring, Monteith said.

In late October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 1 1/9 bushel cartons of jumbos and extra-larges from south Georgia selling for $16.35-16.85; large, $14.35-14.85; fair quality $12.35-12.85

Those prices are up from earlier in the month when jumbos and extra large sold for $10.35-10.85, with fair quality at $8.35-8.85 and larges selling for $9.35-10.85.

By way of comparison, last season in mid-October, 1 1/9 bushel cartons jumbo from south Georgia sold for $14-14.85; extra-large, $12-12.85; large, $10-12.85; fair quality $10-10.85, according to the USDA.

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