Mid-Atlantic vegetable growers ramping up for summer production - The Packer

Mid-Atlantic vegetable growers ramping up for summer production

06/04/2010 11:06:58 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Richard Papen, vice president of Papen Farms Inc., Dover, Del., said he planned to start harvesting June 1.

Delaware volume normally runs through late July before a month’s break in shipments caused by summer heat.

Production resumes in September and usually runs through Thanksgiving.

“Prices have been cheap lately but we are hoping they will strengthen,” he said in mid-May.

Papen said the Delaware deal last season opened at $10-12.



Parker Farms LLC, Oak Grove, Va., planned to start harvesting squash June 1 and run through mid-October or as late as fall weather allows, said Rod Parker, general manager.

Though some Georgia growers finish in mid-June, Parker said most run through the end of the month and always overlap a little with Mid-Atlantic shippers.

The large overlap usually lasts for a couple of weeks and lowers prices, he said.

“The oversupply of course depresses price but weather also has a lot to do with it,” Parker said.

“The price could be $5 on Monday and $15 on Friday then back to $5 the following Monday, depending on who has product available. It’s a highly unpredictable deal.”

Parker said Virginia quality during the last couple of years has been high and that prices have averaged $8.50.

In early June, the USDA reported these prices from Georgia:

  • half- and 5/9-bushel cartons small zucchini selling for $8.35-8.85, medium for $6.35-6.85;
  • yellow straightneck small for $7.35-8.85 and medium for $5.35-6.85;
  • ¾-bushel cartons yellow crookneck small for $10.35-12.85 and medium for $6.35-8.85.

Cullen said prices during the last couple of years have been decent because New Jersey hasn’t brought an excessive amount of product to the market during the start of its deal.

He said heavy rains often affect the Garden State’s volume.

Georgia production is normally finishing by the time Virginia starts, with only a small overlap.

A monthlong deal, Virginia squash production typically begins in early June and ends by early July.


Bell peppers

Mid-Atlantic bell pepper production usually starts in June in North Carolina and in early July in Virginia.

Volume runs through mid-fall.

Parker Farms typically finishes harvesting in mid-October.

The USDA wasn’t reporting Georgia prices in late May.

In early June, the USDA reported these prices from Florida: 1 1/9-bushel cartons green jumbo going for $8.35-10.85, extra-large going for $17.35-7.85, large going for $6.35-6.85 and  medium going for  $5.35-5.85.

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