“Everything looks good and we have good quality,” Sheppard said in early May.
“It’s good that the weather has cooled. We wouldn’t want the lettuce to go through a lot of real warm weather.”
Eastern Fresh contracts a majority of its lettuce to fresh-cut processors.
Freshwave Fruit & Produce LLC, Vineland, began lettuce harvesting in late April.
Tom Consalo, director of sales, said the grower-shipper began pushing early promotions in early May, ahead of the normal May 14-15 start of the promotional push.
Volume increased in mid-May when it was harvesting promotable volumes.
“Quality so far has been good,” Consalo said in mid-May.
“Everything has been good. We have good sizing and the quality has been real nice. We have good weight. Retailers are concerned with weight and have weight requirements and specs.”
On greens, Flaim called quality strong.
“Overall, the stem bases and bodies are a lot better because ... this spring’s growing conditions are better,” he said in mid-May.
“Last year, the lack of sunlight with all those overcast days contributed to less stem body.”
Buyers should expect an earlier than normal start for this year’s cabbage deal.
Freshwave’s Consalo said he expects production to begin in late May, a week earlier than the normal early to mid-June start.
“We’re doing a good slug of cabbage now,” Consalo said in early May.
“We’ve just made the transition from Florida to Georgia, and it was a seamless transition. We didn’t have any gaps and it kept right along. That’s a rarity.”
Consalo said New Jersey cabbage looks strong. He said he expects high quality.
Nardelli said he expects harvesting to start in early June.
He lamented the low spring markets.
“Cabbage has been really tough,” Nardelli said in early May.
“We’re now looking at $7 f.o.b.s in Georgia. That’s no money compared to what growers are putting into cabbage with all your costs and packaging.”
Flaim said last year made for a strong deal and called this season favorable.
“It’s heading up exceptionally well because of the weather,” he said in early May.
“Weather has been ideal and the warmer nights help it head up more evenly.”
Cabbage harvesting usually runs through November and early December.