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

Parker said Georgia volume normally runs to mid-July, with Michigan starting about two weeks later than Virginia’s start.

New York and Michigan, he said, are among the large Northern producing regions.

Parker grows on 90 acres in Virginia.



As Florida production was declining and south Georgia harvesting was preparing to start, Mid-Atlantic grower shippers were looking at starting their summer cucumber shipping season with low prices.

The USDA wasn’t reporting Georgia production in late May, saying the first pricing was expected in late May or by early June when harvesting begins.

From south and central Florida, the USDA in late May reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons and crates waxed mediums selling for $12.35-12.85 with carton 24s at $4.

That’s up from mid-May when 1 1/9 bushel cartons of waxed mediums from Florida sold for $10.85 with cartons of 24s for $3-4.

Parker Farms planned to begin harvesting Virginia production in mid June with production running through mid-October.

Because of normal summer high heat, Parker Farms planned to leave the deal in August and resume production in early September.

Parker called last year’s deal strong and said fall growing can always present challenges.

“Cukes like a little cooler growing weather and look better when it’s cool,” Parker said. “You can get good cukes and get a fair price but you don’t get the yields (in the fall).”

Georgia volume normally finishes in mid-June with South Carolina ending in early July and North Carolina stopping shipments in mid-July.

Northampton planned to begin its cucumber harvesting June 10-15.

Northampton’s Cullen said prices during the first weeks of last season were fair but soon dropped after Michigan entered the deal with strong volume.

“Once Michigan comes in, it seems to knock us out because the markets get pretty cheap,” he said.

Northampton harvests cucumbers from Fairfield, N.C. and from Virginia through early July.

Green beans

Growers were expecting to begin green bean production in late May.

The season was opening as south Florida prices began falling.

Bob Colson, president of C&E Farms Inc., Cheriton, Va., said freezes which struck south Florida growing regions in January created shortages and sent bean prices to high levels.

As the Florida deal was three weeks later than normal, Colson said the company had to cut its acreage by 150 acres so it could begin planting in North Carolina on time.

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