Green beans expected to begin early

03/07/2013 03:09:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — Buyers can look forward to earlier promotable volume from this season’s green bean deal.

Promotable volume usually begins in south Florida in late March to early April.

Because of a warmer than normal growing season, green beans could begin shipping in higher volumes by March 15, said Gary Stafford, salesman and green beans manager with Hugh H. Branch Inc., South Bay.

“The wintertime production we’ve had, the yields and quality have been better than normal,” he said in late February.

“With the weather remaining fairly moderate ... we will be into a good supply of spring beans in early to mid-March.”

On March 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported bushel cartons/crates of handpicked round green beans from central and south Florida selling for $24.85-25.85 with machine-picked selling for $24.85-25.95.

February prices remain variable because of cold weather lowering yields, Stafford said.

Jon Browder, sales manager for Pioneer Growers Co-op, said Homestead in late February was producing light volume and said he expects Belle Glade volume to increase by the end of March and in early April.

Volume

Because of weather disruptions during fall plantings, Browder said the deal didn’t see much volume in February and in late February quoted $20.85 for beans.

“That price tells you there isn’t really much volume now,” he said in late February.

“After Easter, the bean deal will have great volume and excellent quality going through second week of May.”

Belle Glade production in Palm Beach County is normally planted to tie into Easter. This year, Easter is March 31.

Browder said beans are yielding well and characterized quality as excellent.

While Homestead and Immokalee production dominates January and February with Homestead generally running through early May, Belle Glade and Immokalee typically harvest through mid-May before the deal moves to south Georgia.

In southwest Florida, Chris Tordonato, sales manager of Florida Specialties Inc., Immokalee, said the favorable winter temperatures are helping produce a more consistent and more marketable bean deal.

“Instead of clustered, you’re not getting a lot of gaps and aren’t getting a lot of bunch-ups, which makes it equal, which is good and shows in the market,” Tordonato said in late February.



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