Growers say Michigan crops on schedule

06/28/2010 09:57:26 AM
Ashley Bentley

Radishes were also a couple weeks behind in late May, Todd Miedema said. The company ships radishes year-round, with Michigan filling the gap June through October.

“We started packing some radishes this week, but it’s kind of a slow go because of the weather,” said Jerry Van Solkema, president of Byron Center-based Van Solkema Produce Inc. on May 21. “It wasn’t a consistent supply.”

Michigan asparagus usually wraps up by the end of June.

Costanza said he’ll be finished planting his vegetables by the end of June, and will have vegetables through mid-October.

Much of his product is marketed through SMP Marketing, Greenfield, Tenn., and ends up on the shelves of retail chains, including Spartan Stores, Meijer, Supervalu, Kroger and Aldi.

“The lake effect gives us a few extra days in the spring and the fall,” Costanza said.

After the early asparagus and radishes, strawberries are the first Michigan crop to hit the market in early June.

Cucumbers are next up, in mid- to late June, around the same time as squash, cabbage and leaf items.

By the first of July, Michigan celery should hit the market, said Gary Wruble, general manager of the Hudsonville-based Michigan Celery Promotion Cooperative. The state should have celery through October.

Tomatoes were set to harvest around July 20 for Russell Costanza Farms, followed by eggplant and hot peppers the following week.

Leitz Farms should have cantaloupe by mid-July, along with grape tomatoes, with the romas and round tomatoes to follow a week or two later.

“The (July) 25th on through the end of September it’ll be wide open,” Costanza said. “We’ll pack 7,000 to 10,000 packages per day, hopefully.”

E. Miedema & Sons should be harvesting sweet corn by July 20, Dave Miedema said. Zucchini should get going in late June, as well.

The tomato market has been a little too unstable this spring and early summer for Leitz’s liking, he said.

“It’s better to be steady,” Leitz said. “But we’ve got the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky all before us. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Arkansas.”

Bruce Klamer of celery grower V&W Farms, Byron Center, said he increased acreage this year in hopes for a better celery market.

“Last year the summer was not a high point. The markets were very depressed,” Klamer said. “I hope it’s not just optimism, but I think it’s going to be better than last year.”


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