New York potatoes, onions running on schedule

07/15/2010 09:17:50 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

He said problems with Mexican production caused shortages and helped prices skyrocket to more than $40 in February.

The prices remained high into March as Texas growers experienced problems with their growing season as well, Pazderski said.

Williams Farms LLC, Marion, N.Y., which grows in the Finger Lakes region, plans to begin its harvesting Labor Day.

“Our crop is looking pretty decent,” John Williams, partner, said in early July. “I know some areas were hurt with some wind and water, but our onions look good.”

Williams said most New York growers finished shipping out of storage when the market soared to levels exceeding $20-25.

He said the western deal, which controls the onion market, ran light last year.

Potatoes

Harvesting of New York-grown potatoes normally starts around Labor Day.

Early production can start at the end of August.

One of Williams Farms’ growers planted some early varieties that are expected to start harvesting during the end of July and early August, Williams said.

Weather during the May seeding was warm and a little too dry but shouldn’t harm the potatoes, Williams said.

Williams said he now worries about disease after June’s excessive rain.

While fall prices usually remain low, they normally firm up as the weather turns cold, he said.

Williams, which grows on 250 acres, increased its acreage by 40 acres this season and Williams expects to ship 250 loads this season.

While planting begins in May, Torrey Farms Inc., Elba, N.Y., usually begins its potato harvesting in late September and early October, with packing beginning in early November.

Maureen Marshall, vice president, said prices earlier in the season were low.

New York has a niche market with its white-skinned and high-flavor muck potatoes that are grown in black organic soil, Marshall said.

Harvesting for the state’s potatoes normally finishes by mid-October with shippers shipping storage potatoes through June.


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