Ohio vegetable growers say they kicked off slightly early on some crops and anticipate good quality across the board this season. ( Wiers Farm Inc. )

It could have been much worse.

Ohio growers endured heavy spring rains, extended cold snaps, high winds and even a freeze in early May. Despite those obstacles, sources said the state’s outlook is positive.

“It’s not all doom and gloom,” Jeff Walker, salesman for TC Marketing Inc., Napoleon, Ohio, said May 22.

Walker said high winds damaged early radish plantings, and the crop also suffered some frost damage. But he said TC Marketing expected to start radishes a week late on May 26, and the remaining crop looks good.

Unseasonably warm temperatures in April had crops a week ahead of schedule before a May 8 freeze.

That was followed by more than a week of cool temperatures. Scott Michael, president of Urbana, Ohio-based Michael Farms, said the cold weather claimed about 5% of his sweet corn and green bean crops.

However, he said the grower-shipper likely would replant the lost acreage to boost late-season volumes.

“It’s not a disaster,” Michael said May 23. “Instead of having an early start with a big crop, it’s a late start with a normal crop.”

He said green beans likely will start in late June and run into October. Sweet corn is expected to start in mid-July and also run into early October. Cabbage should start in mid-June and run into November. Potatoes should start in August and ship from storage into March, Michael said.

Loren Buurma, co-owner of Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc., said May 17 that his company expected to start its radish harvest May 18, a week ahead of last year.

He said the company expected to have promotable volumes of radishes, cilantro, variety lettuce, collard, turnip, mustard, kale, green onions and parsley starting in June and continuing through September.

Beets, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers will follow in July and continue through September. August will bring promotable volumes of sweet corn, peppers, celery, carrots and fall squash, he said.

“We anticipate excellent quality and normal volumes,” Buurma said.

Ben Wiers, president of Willard-based Wiers Farm Inc., agreed that quality was expected to be excellent and added that the company was ahead of schedule compared to recent years, unlike area grain farmers who were force to replant because of the extreme cold in early May.

“We had a few acres of parsley, collard, kale, mustard, turnip, radishes and leeks planted but didn’t see any negative impacts,” Wiers said May 22.

“Our radish harvest began in mid-May with great quality. Bell pepper, cucumber, summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, specialty pepper and all of our other early transplanted fields look great.”

Harvest of leafy vegetables, root crops and summer squashes should start in early to mid-June, he said, with sweet corn and cucumbers following in mid-July, and with peppers, tomatoes and eggplant following in late July.

“We expect to harvest all items through mid-October,” he said.

Kirk Holthouse, co-owner of North Fairfield, Ohio-based Doug Walcher Farms and Holthouse Farms, Willard, said fields were ready for planting in early May, but because of cold temperatures the company held off planting and transplanting.

“We’re a week late, but we can make that up with nice, warm weather like we’re having now,” he said May 18. “You have to be careful about what’s exposed.”

Holthouse said the company would harvest soft squash in late June, and bell and hot peppers, eggplant and cucumbers will follow in early July, with hard squash in late August. Pumpkins and gourds wrap things up starting in late August.

Onion Boy, Shelby, Ohio, typically begins its onion harvest in late July or early August. President Tim Hanline said the company was on pace for an early August start because of the cool, wet spring, but that could change.

“If we get consistent warm weather and sunshine, they’ll catch up,” he said.

“It’s too early to tell.”

 
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