Though growers plan a tardy start for their cabbage harvesting, buyers should look for more normal beginnings for Georgia-grown sweet corn and green beans.
The state is the next major East Coast supplier of the three vegetables following the ending of Florida’s winter and spring deals.
Buyers should expect a late start for this year’s Georgia cabbage deal.
Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc., which grows and ships cabbage from north Florida and south Georgia, said Georgia harvesting isn’t expected to start until early May, about three weeks later than the deal’s normal April 10-15 start.
Because of the cold winter, L&M plans to go three weeks longer in north Florida, Lytch said.
The north Florida deal normally ends in late April and early May.
“The plants that were planted, they just sat there and never grew,” Lytch said in late April. “The cabbage supply this spring coming out of Georgia will be fairly tight because the crops are late and the yields won’t be as good. Any time you have a crop pushed back that far, it also affects yields.”
Lytch said he doesn’t expect issues with quality.
Delayed by cold weather, Florida plantings intended for St. Patrick’s Day that hit the market after the holiday bunched up and caused an oversupply and lowered prices.
Lytch in late April quoted $4 for 50-pound cartons of round green medium.
In late April, the USDA reported $5 for 50-pound cartons of round green medium, $4 for small and $10 for red from south, central and north Florida, up from $7-8 for green medium, $6-7 for small and $10 for red in early April.
Last year in late April, central Florida green medium sold for $6-6.50.
North Carolina, the next largest producing region, normally begins harvesting May 10.
This year, however, Lytch said he expects that deal to be a little later than normal, though not pushed as far back as Georgia’s.
Riding on a higher-than-normal market because of shortages in south Florida product, Georgia growers expect to begin corn harvesting in mid-May, as normal.
Buyers can expect an overlap between south and central Florida green bean production and the start of Georgia’s production.
Corn has been selling for as high as $28-30 per crate from south Florida through much of the winter and early spring.