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

Joey Johnson, president of J&S Produce Inc., Mount Vernon, Ga., said he expects a favorable early market.

“I’m not sure many people got all of their production planted. If they did, some growers in other areas may have lost their first plantings,” he said in late April. “Anyone who has early plantings should do well based on so much rain the state received.”


Weather problems delayed Georgia’s cabbage deal.

Pickings for Georgia Vegetable Co. Inc., Tifton, began in late April, about 10 days later than normal, said Shay Kennedy, co-owner, vice president and sales manager.

Kennedy said wet fields made it difficult for growers to plant. She expected lighter supplies at the start of the deal.

Because of expected lighter Georgia supplies, Kennedy said she expects the cabbage market to be stronger this year than in the past.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see an $8 market in Georgia,” she said in late April.

“Prices have been low for a few weeks but sure will change when we get more Florida growers finishing up.”

According to the USDA, The cabbage market had increased from $6-6.50 for 50-pound cartons of round green medium from central Florida in early April to $9-10 in late April.

Georgia production runs through the first week of June.

Green beans

Green beans shippers plan to start production in mid-May, about a week later than normal.

The rain and cold weather didn’t cause much damage and only delayed pickings, said Gary Stafford, a Hugh H. Branch salesman and green beans manager.

Branch, which has bean production near Poulan, Ga., west of Tifton, expects a normal transition from central and south Florida harvesting.

Stafford said south Florida’s January and February freezes caused a small Florida gap in production but that strong volumes began hitting in mid-March. Stafford said Florida volume would run through mid-May.

“It’s just a little bit later than normal in Georgia due to the weather,” he said in late April. “There won’t be much of a gap.”

Branch’s growers plan to ship from 400 acres, similar to last season, Stafford said.

Stafford quoted $11-13 for bushel hampers, cartons and crates of round handpicked beans from south Florida, similar to prices garnered in early April.

Kennedy expects a strong bean deal.

“Usually it’s a good market when Georgia opens up, especially this year,” she said in late April. “There should be a gap between Florida and Georgia. Even if there’s not necessarily a gap, if Florida finishes, Georgia can at least have an opportunity to start with just Georgia beans.”

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