Cold spring pushes back some Georgia commodities

05/09/2013 11:47:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Johnson said white flies caused problems that caught growers by surprise.

On fruit, watermelon supplies should be tight during early June, the usual opening of Georgia’s watermelon season.

An expected later-than-normal start could create a gap in late May between north Florida and Georgia production. Georgia crops should begin June 15, about 10 days late.

“There will be a gap between Memorial Day and (the start of) Georgia (production),” Greg Leger, president and partner in Leger & Son Inc., Cordele, Ga., said in late April.

“But volume and orders usually fall off after the holiday.”

Leger said he expects north Florida, which normally ships through June 10, to help fill supplies.

On blueberries, growers began harvesting in mid-April as usual but not as early as initial season estimates predicted.

Brian Bocock, the Grand Junction, Mich.-based vice president of product management for Naturipe Farms LLC, Estero, Fla., said he expects strong southern highbush production through the end of May before Georgia’s second crop, the rabbit eye variety, begins in late May.

“Quality has been very good and demand is high,” he said in late April. “There will be opportunities for promotions.”

This season’s peaches should begin harvesting in around the last week of May.

“We are looking at a wonderful crop of fruit on the trees,” Will McGehee, sales manager for the Genuine Georgia Group and Pearson Farm, Fort Valley, Ga., said in late April.

“We have great spacing, quality looks good and everything looks very healthy. We are progressing toward a very nice crop. We are as optimistic as we’ve been in a while.”

While blueberries, cabbage and squash begin harvesting in April, most of Georgia’s other fruit and vegetables begin shipping in mid- to late May.


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