Georgia’s vegetable harvest is running behind and likely will cause supply gaps.

Southern vegetable gaps probable due to late startBuyers should expect small supply gaps in bell peppers and cucumbers during the transition from Plant City, Fla., to south Georgia production, grower-shippers report.

Dug Schwalls, sales director for Norman Park, Ga.-based Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable Inc., said the early part of the deals could bring supply shortages.

“When we get into the first couple of weeks of May, we could see a gap on everything,” he said in late April. “Central Florida was late on starting bell peppers and south Florida has had production but quality has been hit or miss.”


Bell peppers

Southern Valley expects to begin harvesting pepper in late May, later than the typical May 20 start, Schwalls said.

This year’s early deal should be normal, said Steve Sterling, salesman for Lake Park, Ga.-based Fresh Link Consolidation LLC, the sales agent for Coggins Farm and Produce Inc.

“We will see bell peppers with a typical bit of a gap, especially on the bigger sizes when Plant City starts to finish and Georgia hasn’t quite got going with their volume,” he said.

J&J Family of Farms Inc., in Loxahatchee, Fla., plans to begin harvesting after Memorial Day with volume to start in early to mid-June, said Brian Rayfield, vice president of business development and marketing.

“Georgia will be a little slow out of the gate,” he said in late April. “In the past, there has been more production in May than there will be this year, but in the month of June, there will be promotable volume. Retailers should be able to take advantage of good quality and excess supply during June.”

Production is on schedule for Ken Corbett Farms LLC in Lake Park and buyers should expect a gap between Florida and Georgia, said Eric Bolesta, sales manager.

“Hearing from everyone, south Florida is winding down while central Florida is putting on the back nine,” Bolesta said in late April. “There will be a lack of volume come mid-May.”

Pepper quality remains high, he said.



Lake Park-based South Georgia Produce Inc., plans to begin harvesting cucumbers May 15-20 with volume commencing the following week.

“So far, things look good,” Al Hiers, salesman and food safety manager, said in late April. “I don’t see any problems and haven’t heard of any infestations other than some drowning in some areas that required replanting, but that didn’t affect many.”

Hiers characterized last fall as a good season and one that brought more supers than selects or choice product.

Fresh Link expects to begin shipping cucumbers in mid-May, Sterling said.

“There should be a gap with Plant City,” he said in late April. “It won’t be a smooth transition in late April and early May. They will finish up there and there won’t be anything here. I don’t think there are a lot of cucumbers planted in Plant City this year.”

Because of spring weather problems, cucumbers should be in lighter supply, Ken Corbett Farms’ Bolesta said.

“We will have decent volume but due to the early weather conditions, plant populations will be lower than normal,” he said in late April. “The quality as far as the fruit goes looks good.”

Ken Corbett Farms planned to begin harvesting in late April.

Cucumbers typically end production by late June.