Despite cool spring, normal Ohio veg volumes expected - The Packer

Despite cool spring, normal Ohio veg volumes expected

06/04/2010 01:15:22 PM
Andy Nelson

Mother Nature could have been a little more cooperative this spring, but overall, Ohio vegetable grower-shippers expect normal supplies of high-quality product, with minimal delays.

Despite a cooler-than-normal growing season, Willard-based Holthouse Farms of Ohio Inc. expects to begin its leafy greens deals about on time, in late May or early June, said Kirk Holthouse, the company’s general manager.

The company will ship ro-maine, boston, red and green leaf and other leafy greens this season, Holthouse said. Squash should follow in mid-June and cucumbers and peppers in July.

The company’s pepper deal will consist mostly of green bells but also will feature jalapeños, hungarian wax and other hot peppers, he said.

Holthouse Farms plans to grow more zucchini and yellow squash this season, after a company it used to market for shut down its operations, Holthouse said.

“They decided not to be in the produce business anymore, so we’re growing more our-selves,” he said.

For the same reason, Holthouse Farms is growing 15 acres of eggplant this year, the first time the company has grown the vegetable, Holthouse said. Harvest should start in late July and last through mid- to late September.

On average the season was running about two weeks ahead of normal for Willard-based Wiers Farm Inc./Dutch Maid, said Jim Wiers, the company’s president.

By the week of June 7 Wiers Farm expected to be shipping radishes, greens, cilantro, green onions and variety lettuce, Wiers said. Zucchini, yellow squash, parsley, dill and other commodities were expected to follow shortly thereafter.

Willard-based Buurma Farms Inc. began shipping radishes May 20,  a few days later than usual but similar to last year, said Loren Buurma, co-owner.

The deal should last through mid-November, he said. Buurma reported outstanding quality and similar acreage as in 2009.

Buurma Farms is expected to follow up radishes with turnips, mustard and other greens and cilantro and dill about June 1; green onions, variety lettuces and parsley about June 8; cab-bage, zucchini and yellow squash later in June; cucumbers July 1; and peppers, corn, carrots, celery and other vegeta-bles about July 15-20.

Buurma reported a very simi-lar product mix across the board as last year.

Despite the rainy weather, as of May 18 Urbana-based Mi-chael Farms Inc. hadn’t missed any plantings, and expected to begin harvesting beans and cabbage about June 25, said Scott Michael, president.

White, red and yellow pota-toes were scheduled to follow in July, Michael said.
 
The weather’s been anything but ideal, but so far, there haven’t been any disasters, either, said Ken Holthouse, general manager of North Fairfield, Ohio-based Doug Walcher Farms.

“With the cool, wetter weather, everything’s looking a little yellow, but it’s not rotting in the ground,” Ken Holthouse said.

Despite a 10-day lull in plant-ings in May, the crops weren’t behind, he said.

Between the end of May and June 10, the company expected to start shipping squash. Cu-cumbers would likely follow about June 15-20 and peppers about a month later.

The company expects acre-age increases in zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers, Ken Holthouse said. A smaller increase is expected in the company’s bell pepper deal, he said.

In mid-May, the Ohio sweet corn crop marketed by Swan-ton-based Bettinger Farms Inc. had a lot of catching up to do, said Don Bettinger, the com-pany’s president.

“It’s been absolutely horri-ble,” Bettinger said. “We’re behind on planting, and what is planted looks pretty sick.”

Bettinger has been growing sweet corn since 1990, and he can’t remember ever seeing a crop be rained out so consis-tently.

“There’s been no sun, wind or heat, and every time we think we’re about to get started again, we get more rain,” he said.

Still, an expected July 17 be-ginning to the deal was cause for hope, Bettinger said.

“It’s a long ways away,” he said. “It may straighten out by then. We’ll just keep planting.”

The plan, Bettinger said, is to plant the same acreage as last year, with a similar mix of yellow, white and bicolor varieties. Whether Mother Nature cooperates or not is up for debate.

“I’ve got the seed (to plant similar acreage as in 2009) sitting here, anyway,” he said.



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