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

With the unfavorable weather the region has experienced, Griffin said the deal could be delayed up to 10 days later than normal.

Griffin said he expected Florida to pick through May 27-28, a little later than the deal’s typical Memorial Day finish. He said that should help transition to Georgia’s expected later start.

Griffin characterized Georgia’s quality as excellent and said the state should produce a beautiful crop.

Bell peppers

South Georgia growers planned to start their bell pepper production May 20-24, on time.

Steven Johnson, salesman for South Georgia Produce Inc., Lake Park, characterized the pepper market as highly variable.

Peppers from south Florida in early April had sold for as high as $18.35-20.85 for 1 1/9 bushel cartons green jumbos.

By late April, however, they had fallen to $10.35-12.85 for the same size, with extra large selling for $10.35-10.85; large, $8.35-8.85 and mediums at $6.35-8.85.

Johnson said prices escalated as bloom drops from Florida’s cold and wind became evident four to six weeks after the late January and early February freezes.

“On top of that, the fruit you did have on there didn’t have a lot of big pepper,” Johnson said in late April. “Last week, you couldn’t get big pepper, only choice. There was a shortage of big blocky, extra- larges and jumbos from central and south Florida.”

Harry Sheaffer, salesman for Onancock, Va.-based Marker 29 Produce Inc., the sales agent for Coggins Farm and Produce Inc., Lake Park, said he expects Plant City, Fla., production to end by mid-June when California also becomes a factor.

“Hopefully, the pepper deal will be a little better this year,” he said. “It’s been OK, but not too great over the last few years.”

Cucumbers

A slow-starting year for cucumbers, Georgia shippers in late April said they expect the deal to start May 15, about 10 days later than normal.

Early cucumbers sustained some damage, Sheaffer said.

“The rain and the really late cold spell around Easter have just slowed everything up some,” he said in late April.

Sheaffer said Georgia was following Plant City’s later-than-normal production because of unfavorable weather during plantings. Sheaffer said he expects Plant City production to run through mid-May.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 1/9 bushel cartons of cucumbers from Florida in late April sold for $14.35-16.85, down considerably from $18.35-20.85 in early April.



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