WIMAUMA, Fla. — Lower volume should make for a strong spring Florida cabbage deal.
Lighter supplies should keep the cabbage market highly active for St. Patrick’s Day, said Jeff Williams, president of Wm. P. Hearne Produce Co. LLC.
Because cold temperatures in the northern and southern Florida producing regions slowed plantings and lowered supplies, Williams said he expects April to also bring active demand and said he expects the deal to remain strong through the end in late May and early June.
“You will see tight supplies this year and will see a lot of demand for cabbage,” he said in late February. “The volume has been a little bit light but the quality has been great. We are seeing excellent quality. The cabbage is beautiful.”
For St. Patrick’s Day promotions, Williams said Hearne was contracting cabbage at $12-14 for 50-pound cartons.
In late February, the U. S. Department of Agriculture reported 50-pound cartons of round, green, medium-sized heads of cabbage from north, central and South Florida districts and 45-pound cartons of savoy mediums selling for $9-10; 50-pound sacks of green cabbage selling for $8-9 and 50-pound cartons of red medium-sized cabbage selling for $12-14.
In late February last year, the USDA reported 50-pound cartons of round, green, medium-sized cabbage selling for $7-8 with red mediums at $12-14 and 45-pound cartons of savoy medium fetching $12-14.
In late February, Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., was entering strong volume in its northern Florida production at Palatka.
“We have had good growing weather in the last couple of weeks,” he said in late February. “After some extended periods of cold, they have grown well. Demand is increasing considerably for St. Patty’s Day and has been strong ever since we started in late December.”
Pioneer Growers Co-op in Belle Glade markets its Wilson Farms-branded cabbage through mid-April.
Because November and December rains created planting gaps for its Homestead production, Pioneer experienced shorter supplies in February.
Jon Browder, sales manager, said he expected supplies to improve in March.
“Quality has been good,” he said in late February. “Last year went very well. Our numbers were up in cabbage compared to previous years.”
Browder said Pioneer’s cabbage acreage should be similar to last season’s.
Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., in Cheriton, Va., harvests cabbage in the Okeechobee area.
“The cabbage has been really good,” Calvert Cullen, president, said in late February. “Volume is steady. Things really slowed down with all the cold weather we had, but now we’re getting warm weather, so things are picking back up. We are looking forward to a good St. Patrick’s Day deal.”
Northampton plans to shop through mid-April before transitioning to Georgia production.