Georgia vegetables off to a sluggish start - The Packer

Georgia vegetables off to a sluggish start

05/15/2009 01:17:13 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Georgia vegetable growers expect a wetter-, windier- and colder-than-normal spring to delay production.

Growers said they planned to start harvesting most items except for bell peppers one week to 10 days later than usual.

Sweet corn

Though growers of other vegetables said they heard the state’s sweet corn crop suffered significant rain damage, corn shippers in late April downplayed any damage and said the extent of harm hadn’t been determined.

Brett Bergmann, co-owner of Hugh H. Branch Inc., Pahokee, Fla., which has acreage in Bainbridge, Ga., said the region experienced much rain.

The verdict on any damage, however, was still out in late April, he said.

“There probably will be some stand reduction, but it’s premature to tell what will happen,” Bergmann said.  “There has been a lot of rain, but it’s early in the season, so we don’t know yet. We still have to grow the plants and see how they perform.”

Bergmann said growers expect to produce a strong crop with ample supplies and plenty of opportunities for promotions beginning in June and running through early July.

Shipments normally start around Memorial Day.

As Florida’s deal was beginning to hit full volume in late April, Bergmann quoted $9.40 for wirebound crates of 4-4½ dozen yellow, white and bicolor corn from Belle Glade, Fla.

That was considerably lower than March and early April when Florida corn — then being harvested from Homestead, Fla., after a series of freezes destroyed most of Belle Glade’s winter and early spring production — was as high as $24.85-25.85.

Garrett Griffin, salesman for S. M. Jones & Co. Inc., Belle Glade, in late April said he expected Georgia production to start around Memorial Day.

                                                    Doug Ohlemeier

Workers pack carrots at Gerrald's Vidalia Sweet Onions Inc., Statesboro, Ga. Challenged by severe weather during March and early April, Georgia vegetables growers expect a later-starting deal this season with smaller early volumes.

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