Georgia vegetable crops could begin early

05/04/2012 12:57:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

“They look very good,” Calvert Cullen, president, said in mid-April.

“The weather has been favorable. I think we will have good supplies and because of the good growing conditions, quality will be excellent.”

Cullen called yellow squash demand strong but said zucchinis, experiencing heavier production, are seeing decreased demand.

He and Fresh Link’s Sheaffer quoted $10-12 for yellow and $6-8 for zucchinis.

Nate Branch, director of purchasing for Southern Valley, said sunshine and temperate weather are making for a strong squash crop.

“It’s amazing how fast they’re grown,” he said in mid-April.

“We haven’t had much wind. That will cut down on scarring. That has played a tremendous role in moving into spring.”

J&S Produce Inc., Mount Vernon, Ga., started April 20 with some of its smaller growers and planned for its larger growers to begin harvesting in mid-May.

Joey Johnson, president, said he expects strong volume to begin in mid-May.

“We are excited about our season,” Johnson said in mid-April.

“Everything is ahead of schedule. It’s warm but we have had rain when we needed it. It has been a really good spring. We’ve had excellent growing conditions so far.”

Sheaffer said Coggins began squash harvesting in late April, on time.

He said quality looks good.

“It’s going to be consistent,” Sheaffer said in late April. “We should see a consistent supply from start to finish,” he said.

“There won’t be quite as much volume up here as usual. That may strengthen it from where it is now.”

The USDA in late April reported these prices for all Florida districts: half- and 5/9-bushel cartons and crates of zucchini small, $6.35-7.35, medium, $4.35-6.35; 1/2-bushel cartons and crates of yellow straightneck small, $10.35-10.85, medium, $8.35-8.85; 3/4-bushel cartons and crates of yellow crookneck, small, $14.35-16.35 and medium, $10-10.85.

Persistent low winter and spring markets greeted the beginning of Georgia’s cabbage deal.

“The market has been horrendous since the day it started in Florida,” Lytch said in late April.

“It’s been cheap all winter but picked up a little from the bottom during the past few weeks. It never really got off the ground all winter long.”

Saying prices were strengthening a little, Lytch quoted $8 in late April. He said overproduction in all regions contributed to the lower than normal markets.



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