Warm weather starts early cucumber harvesting

11/03/2009 03:47:04 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Shier said the Florida deal normally sees $14-16 f.o.b.s going into Thanksgiving as North Carolina and production areas north of Georgia usually bow out of the deal by then, leaving declining Georgia production and limited early Florida volume.

He said the cucumber market normally remains active during the first three weeks of November.

Market firming up

Adam Lytch, southeast grower development director for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., which grows and ships from Arcadia and Immokalee, said the cucumber deal was beginning to firm up in mid-October.  

Arrival of cooler weather should help slow crops and improve the markets, he said.

Jim Monteith, sales manager for Pacific Collier Fresh Co., Immokalee, said fall cucumber prices didn’t fall as low as squash.

He quoted supers selling for $12 in late September, when production was going from the Northeast through Georgia.

Production fell even further in mid-October when he quoted supers selling for $10.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 1/9 bushel cartons of waxed medium cucumbers from south Georgia in late October sold for $16.35-20.85, with fair quality going for $10.35-12.85. Cartons of 24s sold for $6.35-8.85.

Last year, 1 1/9 bushel cartons of waxed medium cucumbers from south Georgia in mid-October sold for $16-18.35, with fair quality going for $10-10.35 and cartons of 24s selling for $8.

Monteith said Pacific Collier’s growers planned to begin pickings in late November.

Immokalee’s cucumber deal normally runs through the end of December.

Central Florida pickings

Willard, Ohio-based Wiers Farm Inc., which has Florida pole-grown cucumber production through Wiers-Turner Farms LLC, began its harvesting Oct. 1 in light volume.

Dean Wiers, Wiers Farm’s sales manager, said volume picked up into consistent pickings by Oct. 19.

“The quality looks outstanding,” he said in mid-October.

Wiers-Turner plans to continue pickings to mid- to late December, depending on how low temperatures fall.

Last fall, Wiers-Turner picked through the end of December with smaller volumes on the latter end.

Wishnatzki Farms, Plant City, sells kirby pickling cucumbers from a large grower.

Gary Wishnatzki, president, said the deal, which started pickings in late September, has brought an oversupply of pickling cucumbers.

“We have an abundant amount of pickles this fall,” Wishnatzki said in mid-October.



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