Thanks to the devastating freeze in Mexico in early February, greenhouse-grown vegetable demand should remain strong into April, and possibly all the way through the end of the Mexican season in May, grower-shippers said.

“We expect prices to stay where they’re at for the next couple of months at least,” said Aaron Quon, greenhouse category director for Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group. “Demand is exceeding supply.”

That could particularly favor Canada, he said.

“It should be a good time for Canada to start up,” he said.

Doug Kling, chief sales and marketing officer for Village Farms, Eatontown, N.J., said it’s unfortunate whenever something like the Mexico freeze happens.

Demand was strong before the freeze, and stronger after it, Kling said.

“The current shortage will continue for the near future,” Kling said March 1.

Markets will likely stay firm heading into the Leamington deal this spring, thanks in large part to the devastating freeze in Mexico in early February, said Kevin Batt, sales manager of BC Hot House, Langley, British Columbia.

“We might not see the spring collision in March and April” between Mexico and Canada, Batt said. “Prices should be a little higher.”

As winter progresses and gives way to spring, Totta forecast brisk demand for Clifford’s tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

Once the glut of Mexican-grown product — picked in a hurry, so as to be salvaged, after the early-February freezes — works its way through the system, demand for greenhouse vegetables should be strong heading into the Canadian season, said Gregg Biada, vice president of Global Fresh Import & Export, Naples, Fla., a subsidiary of Springfield, Ill.-based Tom Lange Co.

“Canada should be strong for the first two or three weeks” until volumes from Florida pick up, Biada said.

Global Fresh expects to begin shipping Leamington-grown tomatoes the last week of March, with volume shipments expected by the second week of April.

Biada wasn’t happy to see prices skyrocket immediately after the freeze.

He understands the need for growers of devastated field-grown crops to try to make up in price for what they lost in volume, but it too often winds up creating the opposite scenario: retailers raise prices, more product comes on and logjams result.

Nevertheless, that could also present opportunities, he said.

“I think retailers are open to good ads,” Biada said. “It’s been a dry winter. There haven’t been a lot of ad opportunities.”