Rainy spring and early summer affects squash, cucumbers

07/22/2013 11:23:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Shippers say heavy rains could cause small production gaps in New York’s squash and cucumbers.

Bell peppers and eggplant aren’t expecting to suffer as much from the weather disruptions.

Squash

Thanks to the excessive rains, buyers should expect New York growers to furnish variable supplies of squash this season.

Jason Turek, partner in Turek Farms, King Ferry, N.Y., said rains pounded the growing region with 2-3 inches the day after the company finished the first round of planting.

That resulted in many seeds failing to emerge.

Turek Farms replanted but those crops won’t be ready until later in the deal, Turek said.

“Like with beans, there will be a lot of hit-and-misses on production,” he said in mid-July. “We should have inconsistent harvesting with the inconsistent plantings.”

Instead of planting 50 acres a week as originally planned, Turek Farms only planted half, Turek said.

Georgia finished production in late June and New Jersey, Delaware, southern Pennsylvania and Virginia growers started their harvesting, Turek said.

Those regions and New York typically harvest into October.

Torrey Farms Inc., Elba, N.Y., began harvesting July 15.

Maureen Torrey, vice president, said Georgia finished harvests in late June and New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio started during that time, bringing more supplies to the market.

“We just started but they look good,” she said in mid-July.

“There won’t be any gaps caused by the rain during planting. The squash grows fast. It should catch up.”

Demand was strong in late June and early July because of shorter supplies, Torrey said.

Torrey plans to begin winter squash production, including butternuts, Sept. 10 and harvest through Oct. 15.

Eden Valley Growers, Eden, N.Y., started harvesting green squash and yellow crookneck squash in early July, about a week later than normal.

Cooler nights delayed Eden Valley’s start, said Dave Walczak, sales and operations manager.

“The squash look very good,” Walczak said in mid-July. “The quality looks strong. With the cooler nights and the cooler days we’ve been having, it’s getting to the point to where production will be pretty good.”

Walczak said Georgia normally finishes in early August while New Jersey usually ends harvesting in mid-August.

In late June, Walczak said the squash market was hot, and attributed higher prices to heavy rains harming Georgia production.

On July 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for ½-bushel cartons and crates of squash from Michigan: $13.85-14.85 for zucchini small, $10.85-12.85 for medium; $16-16.85 for yellow straightneck small and $14-14.85 for medium.

Cucumbers

Torrey plans to begin harvesting cucumbers July 20-25, as usual.

“They look good,” she said. “The quality will be there. There will be some gaps because of the weather but we should have adequate supply. We don’t have as many acres planted in our first plantings, though.”

Planting was a challenge and there are some spots in the fields, but Torrey said the weather can help improve conditions.

Growers on the Eastern Shore, New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan were all beginning production by early July, she said.

Eden Valley started cucumber harvesting July 15, a little later than usual.

Walczak said buyers should count on the season to bring solid production.

“They look good,” he said in mid-July. “The cucumbers look healthy.”

Walczak quoted $16-18 for super selects.

On July 15, the USDA reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons of waxed medium cucumbers from Michigan selling for $24.85-26.85, with fair quality going for $14-16.85 and cartons of 24s selling for $8.50-9.50.

Walczak said last year was a favorable season despite many cucumbers being on the market in July and August.

Eden Valley plans to ship through early October.

Bell peppers

Eden Valley plans to begin its bell pepper harvesting by early August.

While Georgia typically finishes by mid-July, New Jersey remains in production and sometimes runs later than its usual mid-July finish, as it did last season, which depressed prices, Walczak said.

The grower-shipper has added more acreage and plans to go longer this year.

“The bells look good,” Walczak said in mid-July. “The crops look real healthy. We’re hoping to go a little further into October this year.”

According to the USDA, 1 1/9 bushel-cartons of jumbos from North Carolina on July 15 sold for $20.35.

Eggplant

Eden Valley expects to start its eggplant production in late August.

Georgia production usually runs through mid- to late July while New Jersey normally harvests into August, Walczak said.

On July 15, the USDA reported 1 1/9-bushel cartons mediums from eastern North Carolina fetching $8-10.35.



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