East Coast – The lingering effects of last week’s tropical storm are showing up at harvest time.
Squash and Zucchini
Due to recent rains of the past few weeks some fields have been flooded and in turn, some crops have been destroyed. Too much water causes a product that is in the field to mold and not reproduce. During this time of year, farmers are usually producing 4,000 – 6,000 bushels per day. As of yesterday some of the larger farmers were only producing a few hundred boxes. With low production numbers and marginal quality to choose from, farmers will plow under what is left. Prices on yellow squash and zucchini will be almost double their usual cost – this will last for at least 2-3 weeks until the northern growing regions of the Carolinas, New York, Michigan, and Ohio have any type of volume to help ease the supply shortages. We could also see a gap in availability.
Green Pepper started about 10 days early this year in GA. With abnormal weather conditions, Georgia is expecting to end early as well. We could see things wrap up as early as next week. Following similar seasonality as squash, the Carolinas and Virginia are not ready with adequate supplies. Expect elevated market pricing along with tight supply.
The cabbage market is finishing up in Georgia and the product available in North Carolina is showing severe quality issues due to excessive rain and the resulting insects. This will continue until we start seeing some product out of the Northeast. Markets will be elevated for the coming 2 – 3 weeks.
Both Lady Peas and Pink Eye Peas are currently unavailable due to weather conditions. We will watch local markets for other pea varieties and substitutions such as English Peas and Butter Beans.
Prices remain high. Color substitutions are being made when possible. Yellow whole corn availability is incredibly tight right now. The market has moved from Florida to Georgia product. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia farmers were hesitant to plant in February and March; plantings were cut back drastically. The surge in demand along with drastically reduced plantings has led to severe shortages. Some maturity challenges have cropped up as well, creating obstacles for the incoming product.
Elevated bulk markets caused by a tough growing transition from GA into the Midwest. Rain in GA and delayed plantings in the Midwest (caused by a cold snap in early May) followed by rain will keep markets elevated for the next few weeks.
West Coast – High heat is hurting yields and quality.
Extreme heat will affect lettuce crops for the next few weeks. Inclement weather in the Salinas Valley has resulted in an uptick of heat-related defects, including the potential for internal burn and weaker texture due to current weather challenges. Consistency and severity of these defects will fluctuate depending on the micro-climate that the product is being grown in throughout the Salinas Valley. Extreme weather could impact quality across the industry which will make for a radical situation. Product could experience defects like internal burn, tip burn, and reduced shelf life. To alleviate challenges, field teams will be intensely focused on providing the best quality possible by managing harvest times and allocating lots in better conditions for certain cuts that will lend themselves to a better overall finished product. Suppliers will be closely monitoring all incoming raw product while maintaining the entire cold chain process. Maintaining the cold chain will be even more critical now as temperatures rise to ensure shelf life is not compromised in transit.
Broccoli and Cauliflower
For the next two to three weeks, numerous quality issues such as yellowing and pin rot are expected from broccoli and cauliflower fields. Supplies are going to be extremely tight as quality issues are resulting in lower yields due to the hot weather over the last couple of weeks and from the rains in March and April. Furthermore, product was moved ahead of schedule which is creating a gap in supply. Look for the market to continue to climb higher as supplies from the current fields lessen.
The asparagus market is on its way up as Peru is entering their winter season. They will still have production, just not in abundance. We will continue to source asparagus from Peru, but we will also source asparagus from Mexico to keep our supplies steady. The market is elevated.