Prices for cauliflowers could rise higher for the holdidays but probably not to the extremes of last year. John Scherpinski with D'Arrigo Bros., said some retailers are nervous prices will stay high through the holidays like they did last year when there was a lot of media buzz over $50/box produce. “I think there is beginning to be quite a stir again for the holidays. I don’t feel like it has that same (urgent) momentum as last year. It’s seems like there was more planted this year.” Produce is marketed under the Andy Boy brand and shipped throughout Canada and the USA.
Harvest out of Yuma, AZ has been ahead of schedule; two weeks ago they were harvesting cauliflower 14-16 days ahead. “Today we’re two days ahead – there’s 14 days that have disappeared essentially and that’s been the biggest reason for the shortage,” said Scherpinski. They’re roughly 50% of what they planned for. “Our ‘want’ for the week that was planted (is about) 50% last week, this week and again next week.”
Supplies could be tight for the holidays. That may improve in the weeks afterwards but something Scherpinski says has also had an impact is the diamond back moth. Unfortunately, heads affected with the small black spots have been omitted from harvest in Yuma. “Us and others in the industry have been leaving it behind, which is unfortunate.” According to Scherpinski the market has been anywhere from $8-10. “I would anticipate it to climb a little more. I can see it going into the $28-30 just with holiday demand for Christmas and then post-Christmas. In the New Year I’d anticipate supplies leveling off and demand come off.”
D’Arrigo has recently come out with a line of specialty organics, including romaine hearts, broccoli rabe, and fennel. “At this point there isn’t anyone else out there that’s growing (organic rabe),” he said. It’s been gaining popularity on North America’s east coast. “On the retail shelves it seems to do pretty well.”