Company officials at Ruthven-based Clifford Produce Sales Inc. also expressed optimism about the 2012 season.
Jennifer Selwood, sales coordinator, and Phil Thornton, sales manager, said the company’s 16 grower shareholders’ farms had planting schedules that began in mid-December through the last week of January.
The earliest of the Clifford crops — mini cucumbers — were ready for picking by the end of January. Various tomato and bell pepper varieties are expected to reach maturity in March.
A reorganization of staff and operations at Clifford, plus a few additional acres for the 2012 season, should mean up to 6% sales growth for the company this year, Selwood said.
Nature Fresh Farms in Leamington plans to begin harvesting bell peppers the first week of March, according to Jay Colasanti of the company’s sales and marketing department.
He said the company’s beefsteak tomatoes, which were planted Dec. 5, would beat the peppers to market, with the initial round of picking expected in the third week of February.