Other Florida-grown vegetables largely survive freeze damage - The Packer

Other Florida-grown vegetables largely survive freeze damage

03/09/2010 08:23:32 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Prices, he said, were beginning to come down a little and level in February.

Prices remained fair but had leveled out, Bedsole said.

Bedsole quoted south Florida celery selling in the mid-teens.

Last year in late February, the USDA reported cartons and crates of 2 dozen and 2 1/2 dozen and 3 dozen from south Florida sold for $20.95-21.95; 2 1/2 dozen, $21.95-23.95.

Bryan Biederman, assistant sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, said celery prices soared this spring after California experienced heavy rains.

Those rains slowed movement and sent prices into the $20s.

As California, the leading celery-producing state, returns to production, Biederman said he expects celery prices to decline a little.

“We are very happy with the quality of Florida celery,” he said in early February. “We are battling a perception that California celery is better than Florida celery. I think we have closed that gap this year. It’s being well-received throughout the country.”

Pioneer’s growers plan to pack celery through mid-April.

Shiver in early February called south Florida’s celery quality excellent.

“California has fewer supplies this season,” he said. “Demand here has been very strong.”
Shiver said demand in January was as strong as it was last season.

The freeze didn’t leave south Florida’s radish production untouched.

“We had some losses and also had some slowdown in the growth, which held us back a little,” Biederman said. “We are still able to go on with those reasonably.”

Prices this spring are considerably higher than last spring.

Quoting $9.45 for 30 6-ounce film bags and $9.95 for cartons of topped 14 1-pound film bags, Biederman called prices a little higher than normal. He said those two sizes normally in the spring sell for $5-6.

Last year in late February, the USDA reported cartons of topped 30, 6-ounce film bags red sold for $6.45; cartons topped 14, 1-pound film bags red, $6.95; resealable, $7.70; 25-pound film bags, $10.85; 40-pound film bags topped, $16.35.

South Florida radish production normally runs Nov. 1 through late May.

Bedsole called the radish market average to steady.

He said Duda’s radishes suffered minimal freeze damage.

“There’s obviously a week- to 10-day delay in harvesting due to the cold temperatures, but everything is back on schedule and the quality is good,” he said in mid-February.

After Georgia’s broccoli deal ends in late December, north Florida production in Palatka normally begins in mid-December and runs through mid-April when Georgia resumes production.

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