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

Kennedy said Georgia Vegetable has similar acreage this season.

Squash

Getting off to a late start, Georgia’s squash deal started in late April, a couple of weeks later than normal.

“I have visited some of the fields and some look real nice, but you see areas that have been drowned out by the water,” said South Georgia Produce’s Johnson. “I wouldn’t think there’s going to be a whole lot of squash right off the bat in Georgia.”

Johnson said there wasn’t a lot of squash in Plant City either in late April, and said growers were seeing low markets because of depressed demand.

In late April, 1/2 and 5/9 bushel crates and cartons of zucchini small from Florida sold for $6.35-6.85, medium, $4.35-4.85; yellow straightneck small, $6.35-6.85, medium, $4.35-4.85; yellow crookneck small sold for $8-10, medium, $5-6, according to the USDA.

Marker 29’s Sheaffer said Plant City production would likely keep Georgia prices low.

He said cold weather that damaged some earlier plantings made for a later-than-normal start.

J&S’ growers began pickings April 25, 10 days later than normal, Johnson said.

He said there’s often an overlap between Plant City and Georgia production.

“I think Plant City did well last year, and they should stay in as long as they can this year,” he said in late April. “That could create some market competition. Two years ago, they didn’t plant that much down there. But last year, they planted more and did well with it.”

Johnson said J&S did well with squash last year and that prices were favorable despite increasing input costs.

He said he expects Georgia this season to produce a little more squash.

Georgia normally packs squash through early to mid-June.

Eggplant

Preparing to begin shipments in a strong market that saw late April prices from Florida topping $20, Georgia growers were awaiting what they hoped would be a strong season.

South Georgia Produce planned to start its eggplant in mid-May. Johnson said he wasn’t sure if it was because of weather, but said the eggplant deal had been tight in April.

Prices, however, by late April fell to $8.35-10.85 for 1 1/9 bushel cartons of Florida eggplant, according to the USDA.

South Georgia production normally runs through late June or early July, depending on markets and how well the crops hold up to the heat, growers said.


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