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Current Position:Home » News » Agri & Animal Products » Topic

Strong broccoli production on the eastern seaboard

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2017-01-24  Views: 11
Core Tip: Despite rainy weather causing some quality issues for Santa Maria broccoli and instability in Mexican supplies that have pushed the market into double digits, Florida’s broccoli crops have been enjoying some warm weather overall.
Despite rainy weather causing some quality issues for Santa Maria broccoli and instability in Mexican supplies that have pushed the market into double digits, Florida’s broccoli crops have been enjoying some warm weather overall. “We’ve had a really warm winter with the exception of the end of last week where we had little cold snap. It had been warm through the holidays so we were a little ahead of schedule. When it got cold we gapped a little bit but back on track now,” said Tara Smith-Vighetti of Smith’s Farms, which offers iced, iceless or shrink-wrapped broccoli in 14 count bunches, 18 count bunches, crowns, Asian crowns and florets.

“I think that may have contributed to what is going on out west with regards to the rain in Northern California.” Smith has good volume now. “We’re fortunate that we have product on what will hopefully be an increasing market. Broccoli has been pretty cheap for a long time.”

More competition on East Coast

Smith attributed lower pricing and over supply in California during the summer to more competition, especially on the east coast. At one time there were only a couple of big players east of the Mississippi for what was traditionally a western vegetable. “Now over the years with the push for local and subsequent freight savings, there’s been a lot more demand for regional programs.”

Thankfully Smith's sustained little damage from hurricane Matthew and could continue with their season essentially as scheduled. “We had just started planting when that weather event occurred so some of our stands at the early start of the harvest season in early December were light and uneven but we were able to replant and what came after was fine.”

Relationships with contract growers out west
Becoming more than a one-stop is sometimes necessary in order to stay competitive, which Smith’s did by expanding their broccoli program to Florida in 1999. “Between Maine and Florida we still only cover eight months a year so the way to stay competitive on a 12-month contractual basis was to have relationships with contract growers on the west coast and in Mexico to service our accounts year round,” she said. “In the summer and winter we have a lot of strong production on the eastern seaboard and that gives the retailers a lot of confidence in our organization. It allows us to stay competitive on deals that are popping up on a local basis.

Smith's has also moved more into cauliflower for the last three years, something Smith says is a commodity that’s picked up a lot of momentum.

 
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