After a winter full of higher than normal prices caused by weather-related shortages of Florida-grown vegetables, Delmarva grower-shippers were ready to begin shipments of their products.
While some items such as cabbage had already started in mid-May, green beans were expected to start production in late May while growers of other traditional Southern vegetables such as cucumbers, squash and bell peppers expected to begin harvest by mid-June.
Mid-Atlantic cabbage growers opened their late spring and early summer season with lower than normal prices.
Low demand and weather problems in Florida and Georgia growing regions bunched up production, said Jeff Greene, vice president of operations for Hollar & Greene Produce Co. Inc., Boone, N.C.
“The cabbage that was supposed to be later has grown real well at the end, but the cabbage that had slow starts is really late,” he said in mid-May. “You have it all piled together.”
Greene called prices lower than normal and below cost of production.
He quoted $5-6 for 50-pound cartons of medium green cabbage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in early June reported 50-pound cartons and 1 7/8-bushel cartons of round green medium cabbage from Georgia sold for $4.50-5, while 50-pound cartons of red medium sold for $8-10 and 40-pound cartons savoy medium sold for $12.
That was down a little from mid-May, when the USDA reported 50-pound cartons and 1 7/8-bushel cartons of green medium from south Georgia selling for $5.50-6 with large selling for $5.
Greene said he expects strong volume on the coasts this season.
He said Hollar & Greene planned to start its harvesting in the North Carolina coastal area near Elizabeth City, N.C., on June 1, with production running through early July.
Hollar & Greene planned to begin harvesting in the North Carolina foothills near Mount Airy, N.C., in late June, with volume running through early August.
The North Carolina mountain deal, on the North Carolina-Virginia state line near Hillsville, Va., was expected to start in mid-July with production running through mid-October.
Calvert Cullen, president of Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., Cheriton, Va., said he expects prices to improve as Florida finishes harvesting.
In early May, he called the market cheap but said he expected it to improve as Georgia wasn’t producing a lot of volume.
Running through mid-June, Georgia normally has a small overlap with North Carolina and Delaware.
Georgia, however, normally doesn’t have too much of an effect on Virginia’s deal, and prices depend on how heavy New Jersey volume comes in on top of Virginia’s, Cullen said.