Florida spring vegetables deal marked by shortages

03/09/2010 11:17:11 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

In late February, Brett Bergmann, co-owner of Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, said what little corn growers had was commanding higher than normal prices.

He quoted percentage or non-fancy corn selling for up to $25 a crate.

“All this winter corn has been non-fancy merchandise so far,” Bergmann said Feb. 18. “There hasn’t been any fancy sweet corn. Corn is worth a lot of money now and will be worth money until we get more supplies or when demand falls off.”

Low tomato volume
Jon Esformes, chief marketing officer for Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., Palmetto, Fla., in late February said buyers should expect large tomato supply gaps to continue.

“To my knowledge, there will be no significant amount of tomatoes out of Florida for the balance of winter and in early spring,” he said. “I don’t see supplies having an opportunity to return to normal levels until sometime in late April. And that will be dependent upon what the weather is like before then.”

Brian Rayfield, vice president of sales and marketing for J&J Produce Inc., Loxahatchee, said buyers should look for normal volume to begin soon.

“By mid-March, we will hopefully see some items back on track, particularly beans, squash and corn, which are faster-growing items,” he said.

He said he expected most items such as squash, beans and corn should return to pickings by mid-March.

Easter promotions to be okay
Grower-shippers say the state should have ample production for Easter promotions.

“We are gearing up to have a good season of production for the Easter holiday period,” said Fred Moore, a salesman for Five Bros. Produce Inc., Homestead. “We are eager to get into some promotions and expect to be in full production for that time on all items.”

Easter this year falls on April 4.

Grower-shippers say the state should have ample production for Easter promotions.

“We are gearing up to have a good season of production for the Easter holiday period,” said Fred Moore, a salesman for Five Bros. Produce Inc., Homestead. “We are eager to get into some promotions and expect to be in full production for that time on all items.”

Easter this year falls on April 4.

Jason Hollinger, director of procurement for Four Seasons Produce Inc., Ephrata, Pa., said the northeastern distributor has been closely watching the Florida situation and has its merchandisers advising its retail customers.

“We are trying to leverage our partnerships out of Mexico which doesn’t have quite the reputation of quality, but it is coming out well,” he said in mid-February. “We have our merchandising teams doing some resets to make sure our shippers are supplying the right quality and are trying to keep people informed of how the situation will be tight all through March.”



Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left

Join the conversation - sign up for FREE today!
FeedWind
Feedback Form
Leads to Insight