IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Escaping serious damage from Hurricane Matthew, Florida’s grower-shippers expect the fall to bring typical crops on most commodities.
Those normal volumes, however, may follow some rain-caused yield losses during the early part of the deal, grower-shippers report.
Heavy rains from September and October storms and Hurricane Matthew, which threatened Florida’s East Coast in early October, are expected to affect harvesting of early crops, particularly green beans, said Brian Rayfield, vice president of business development and marketing for J&J Family of Farms Inc. in Loxahatchee.
Beans should be in tight supplies from the early November start until December, when volume is expected to return, he said.
December and later plantings, however, look well, Rayfield said.
Despite the big rains, plantings have gone well and the growing season has been favorable.
“The weather has been good since Hurricane Matthew,” Rayfield said in late October. “The plants are growing well. We think they will grow out of that stress. The younger plants that were scheduled to harvest around or just after Thanksgiving look excellent. While we will get off to a little of an unpredictable start for the first few weeks of November, we will be just fine.”
Rayfield said he expects a typical overlap between south Georgia production and the start of Florida’s harvest.
In late October, Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M was harvesting bell peppers, cucumbers and squash in north Florida at Branford and Live Oak.
In early November, the grower-shipper expects to transition to central Florida and to south Florida by the middle of the month.
In November, L&M intends to be harvesting southern vegetables from four growing regions and plans to harvest in Georgia as late into November as weather permits, said Adam Lytch, operations manager.
“With a planned overlap between growing regions, we won’t have any issues during the transition,” he said in late October. “This fall looks good. The crops look nice.”
Quality of the bell peppers, cucumbers, squash and eggplant look favorable, Lytch said.
In late October, Steve Veneziano, director of operations for Oakes Farms Inc., toured fields.
“The season is looking well and everything’s fantastic,” he said Oct. 24. “Growing season quality has been great. The fall should bring heavy volume. Supplies should be good and it should be a good crop for everyone. We are excited to be ramping up.”
Brian Arrigo, president of Southern Corporate Packers Inc., said the state should see increased volume on bell peppers, squash and green beans.
“That could make for a very good year for promotions throughout the season,” he said in late October. “In the Immokalee area, our crops look beautiful.”
The crops remain on-schedule and Calvert Cullen, president of Cheriton, Va.-based Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., which grows and ships throughout the East Coast, said he doesn’t anticipate any early season problems for Florida production.
“The crops look well,” he said in late October. “Buyers should expect good supplies.”
In late October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices:
Bell peppers: 1-1/9-bushel cartons of jumbos and extra larges from Georgia sold for $6.35-8.85.
Cucumbers: 1 1/9 bushel cartons of waxed medium cucumbers from central and south Florida: $14.35 for mediums with cartons of 24s for $7.35.
Squash: From Georgia: 1/2 bushel cartons of zucchini small $6.35-6.85, medium, $4.35-4.85; yellow straightneck small, $8.35-10.85, medium, $6.35-8.85.
Story by: The Packer