Lower East Coast volume could lift Florida cabbage market

11/05/2010 11:40:16 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

WIMAUMA, Fla. — Following a variable year, Florida cabbage grower-shippers say they’re looking forward to better production and markets.

Grower-shippers say weather that has sliced East Coast production could improve Florida’s market.

Smaller East Coast early fall production has strengthened prices.

Quoting $10-12 for 50-pound cartons of green cabbage, Jeff Williams, president of Wm. P. Hearne Produce Co. LLC, called those early season prices highly favorable for early October.


Doug Ohlemeier

A field of newly planted cabbage near Belle Glade, Fla., at Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc., the fresh division of Oviedo, Fla.-based A. Duda & Sons Inc., in late September. After a volatile year last season, Florida cabbage grower-shippers say they’re looking forward to better production and markets.


By mid-October Oct. 19, however, prices fell a little to $9-9.50 for 50-pound cartons of medium green cabbage from New York, with 50-pound sacks of large green cabbage selling for $6-7, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That was a little lower than in early October when the USDA reported $7-8 and $2.50-3 for the respective packs from New York.

Last year, shippers reported receiving $7-8 for 50-pound cartons of medium green cabbage from New York and Pennsylvania in mid-October.

Shorter supply
Typically, many producing areas such as North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania and Canada overlap in early fall and depress prices.

This season, however, because of heavy East Coast rains, much shorter supply has hit the market and kept prices strong. Williams said.

He said the Elizabeth City, N.C., growing area received 11-12 inches of rain in September, which limited production.

“Because markets have been so good in the last 30 days, we are optimistic that we will have a good deal as a lot of guys selling storage cabbage now,” Williams said in mid-October. “That usually reflects a better market coming into Florida.”

After starting its Adel, Ga., production in early November, Hearne typically tries to start its Florida deal by Dec. 10.

Hearne has been planting in Florida every week since mid-September and plans to plant cabbage until mid-January for the 90- to 100-day cycle crop.

Williams said growing conditions posed a bit of a challenge earlier in the season.


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