Bad weather not expected to dent Ohio veg deals

06/05/2009 10:49:16 AM
Andy Nelson

An often cold and rainy growing season should not greatly affect the size or timing of Ohio vegetable deals, grower-shippers said in late May.

Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc. began shipping radishes in the second half of May, and expected cilantro, greens, green onions, parsley, kale and other vegetables to follow in June, said Loren Buurma, co-owner.

So far, the season has been “normal,” Buurma said, if by normal you mean not normal at all.

“The weather’s been unusual, as most years are,” he said.

The growing season started off dry, only to be followed by a long wet period, Buurma said. Despite the challenges, Buurma Farms was able to get most crops in the ground.

Some plantings were pushed back a week, but customers may not even know it, if the weather improves.

What the company misses on the front end, it can make up on the backside, Buurma said.

“The trend the past few years has been a later start in the spring and a later end in the fall,” he said.

The weather turned out to be manageable for North Fairfield, Ohio-based Doug Walcher Farms, said Ken Holthouse, general manager.

“There was a little rain delay, but nothing major,” he said. “We’re pretty well on schedule.”

Walcher Farms expects to begin shipping zucchini and yellow squash in mid-June, right on time, Holthouse said.

Cucumbers should follow in late June, and bell peppers in mid- to late July, he said.

Jim Wiers, president of Willard, Ohio-based Wiers Farms Inc./Dutch Maid, agreed with Walcher that Mother Nature didn’t throw anything insurmountable in his company’s path.

“We’re pretty much on schedule,” he said. “We’ve had good growing conditions, good moisture and we’re looking forward to a good season.”

Wiers Farms began shipping radishes in mid-May, with greens, romaine, leaf lettuce and other commodities following later in the month, Wiers said.

In June, the company will follow those crops up with production of dill, cilantro, curly and plain parsley, beets, yellow squash, green onions and other crops, he said.

Sweet corn, peppers, cucumbers and other vegetables will follow in July, with acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, and jalapenos, poblanos, anaheims and other hot peppers in August, Wiers said.

Wiers Farms, like many other Ohio growers, is growing roughly the same amounts of the same crops it did last year, Wiers said.

“We really don’t change our mix very much,” he said. “Our customer base is dialed in. They know what they want from us.”

Jamestown, Ohio-based GroCo Farms Inc. expects to begin shipping squash June 15, with cucumbers following about July 4 and peppers July 10-15, said Mark Guess, president.


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