Production of reds and yellows in Washington and Oregon was expected to start small soon after the Fourth of July and hit its stride around July 22. Russets are due to come online between July 22 and Aug. 1.
Last year’s oversupply situation is long gone, said Les Alderete, director of production and grower development for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos.
“You’ve got to love produce because it’s just the opposite now,” Alderete said June 27.
“We didn’t have old crop out of North Dakota or Wisconsin lingering around, so everyone pulled it from Florida or California. Florida had some weather problems and both states cut their acres back. Yields and size were also down. At $24 you’ve got plenty of customers who will take everything now. Demand way over-strips what’s available for reds and yellows.”
L&M Cos. has 125 acres of reds and yellows — mostly reds — in Washington that will finish up around the second week of August. Alderete expects average sizing and yield.
“A month ago we thought we’d have a lot more size B than A,” he said. “But there was good weather and they bulked up really nice.”
Russets are affected as well, said Larry Sieg, Washington sales and general manager for Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Potandon Produce LLC.
“Supplies are going to be critically low for the next four or five weeks,” he said June 27.
“That should get alleviated toward the second week of August. Supply is all over with russets on the old crop. Whether it’s here, Idaho or California, there will be gaps between the storage crop and the new crop. It will vary by shipper. The heat in Bakersfield could burn up some of their crop.”
Contributing factors were subnormal packout and more shrinkage and culling than usual, Sieg said.