In Southern California, West Coast Tomato Grower, Oceanside, was reaching peak volume the second week of August, said Aaron Quon, greenhouse and vegetables category director for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, which markets the company’s product.
Picking started in early July and should continue until the third week of November.
“The tomato market in general has been very good,” Quon said.
The company grows mostly round tomatoes on poles and complements that deal with a few romas.
Volume should be 50% higher than last year – and will continue to increase in future seasons, Quon said.
Tim Biggar, salesman for the Carlsbad, Calif., location of Tom Lange Co., characterized this season as “a little bit strange.”
As a broker, he’s not impressed with the higher prices tomatoes are selling for.
He attributes some of the tight supply to the possibility that coastal fog and cooler temperatures in Baja California growing areas may be slowing down the plants.
“They’re just not turning,” he said in early August.
He also said the tomato suspension agreement could be at least partially responsible for a drop in plantings.
“(Growers) knew that they were going to have to sell for more than they did with the old agreement,” he said. “They have to support higher prices. Consequently, they may have planted less.”