There’s definitely more to Georgia produce than peaches and onions. Good volumes of summer squash and a variety of peppers are on tap this season, and watermelons are on track to begin in early June.
J&S Produce Inc., Mount Vernon, Ga., grows a lot of squash and zucchini — especially crookneck squash, said Joey Johnson, president and co-owner.
“We do a big business in southern crookneck squash,” he said.
“There is a growing interest in straight neck and zucchini — and so we’ve increased volume in those varieties.”
The company’s yellow squash started in mid-April, with zucchini starting in early May.
Most Georgia squash and zucchini started early in mid-April — as opposed to a typical early May start — and should run through June, said Katie Murray, director of marketing for Southern Valley Fruit and Vegetable Inc., Norman Park, Ga.
“Production and volume should be pretty steady,” Murray said.
Peppers and zucchini were hit by the March freeze, she said. The pepper plants recovered, but the company had to replant zucchini, which puts them about a week behind the yellow squash.
“Overall it wasn’t too bad. Product is coming on strong with steady volume and great quality,” she said.
On May 8, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices from south Georgia of $6.35-6.85 for ½- and 5/9-bushel cartons of small zucchini and $4.35-4.85 for medium; $6.35-8.85 for ½- and 5/9-bushel cartons of small yellow straightneck squash and $4.35-6.85 for medium; and $8.35-10.85 for ¾-bushel cartons of small yellow crookneck squash and $6.35-8.85 for medium.
Southern Valley expects to begin packing peppers in mid-June and continue well into July.
On May 8, 1 1/9-bushel cartons of green jumbo and extra-large bell peppers from central and South Florida received $16.35, large received $12.35-14.35, and irregular size fair quality received $10.35.
J&S is also packing specialty hot peppers.
“This continues to grow for us,” Johnson said. “We’re doing a big business, increasing hot pepper acreage from 15 to 50 in just three years.”
Georgia seedless watermelons should hit the market early, the first week of June, said Jordan Carter, director of sales and marketing for Leger & Son, Cordell, Ga.
“We ship up and down the East Coast — over to the Mississippi, from our fields in Rebecca, Ga., and Pitts, Ga.,” Carter said.
“The business continues to increase as we continue to deliver consistent quality.”
On May 8, 35-count 24-inch bins of red-flesh seeded watermelons from Florida received 15 cents per pound, and 36-count 24-inch bins of red-flesh seedless received 22 cents per pound.