Ohio vegetable growers anticipate a normal start this year.
“We look fine. Maturity is fairly normal, as far as how far along we are,” said Scott Michael, president of Urbana, Ohio-based Michael Farms Inc.
“Ground conditions have been excellent,” Michael said.
It’s a stark contrast to a year ago, when April 2011 featured rainfall well above normal, Michael said.
“Unlike last spring, which we didn’t have, everything is on schedule,” he said.
Michael Farms has four main crops — potatoes, sweet corn, cabbage and snap beans. The latter two are the first to hit the market, in June. The other two will be on the market in July.
“The potato market is pretty steady, where I thought maybe it would be rising,” Michael said.
For Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc., which grows radishes, beets, celery, carrots, mustard greens, kale, corn, cucumbers, peppers, summer squash and zucchini among its 35 items, growing conditions have been mixed, said Loren Buurma, co-owner.
“In early March, we had way-above-normal temperatures, and April was more normal but we were drier but much windier and a lot of early plantings we lost,” he said.
Windy conditions presented a few obstacles for Willard-based Wiers Farm Inc., which markets under the Dutch Maid label, said Jim Wiers, president.
“We had some challenges with wind, but we’re right on schedule for a week to 10 days early,” he said.
Wiers started its radish harvest in mid-May and followed with mustard and turnip greens the following week, he said.
The mild winter may have a delayed effect on crops, Wiers noted.
“We would have liked to have seen some more extreme cold to help with insect and disease problem,” he said.
His crew already had noticed the presence of insects that normally don’t appear until August, he said.
The mild winter set up good, workable conditions for the crops, said Don Bettinger, president of Bettinger Farms Inc., Swanton, Ohio.
“Everything is up to date in the field, whereas last year it wasn’t,” said Bettinger, who has 500 acres of sweet corn that he ships through early October.
He said the corn deal should be starting to peak near mid-July.
“We don’t start until Georgia is done,” he said. “I like to see a gap between to clean it up and see prices stable.”