Here’s a look at loading opportunities for two favorite St. Patrick’s Day vegetables. We also take a look at Yuma vegetable shipments, and California asparagus.
Cabbage and potato volume should be very good for shipments leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, which is March 17th.
South Florida cabbage shipments have started and will be in good volume heading into March. Shipments will continue through May.
There will be plenty of spuds available for the holiday with new crops of red potatoes and white potatoes from South Florida as well as late season storage red potatoes from the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota. Idaho continues to heavily ship russet potatoes, but reds and whites are an Irish favorite.
Yuma Vegetable Shipments
Winter Yuma vegetables shipments are always a roll of the dice and this season seems no different, except maybe the issues are different. Many of the same shippers out of Salinas also farm in Yuma, AZ. In Salinas they are used to dealing with mildew. The problem is rare in the desert, but has been a major problem this season, especially with head lettuce and romaine. Mildew is caused by rain, warm temperatures and humidity. The result has been a lot of fields have been disced.
The result will be lighter volume for the last month or so with Yuma vegetable shipments. There’s also growing concerns with Yuma tending to finish up a few weeks early, that Salinas may get off to a slow start this season and there could be major shipping gaps from late March, through April and perhaps into May.
Yuma vegetable shipments – grossing about $3800 to Chicago.
California asparagus shipments should get underway in early to mid-March, from the Stockton-Delta area. It is estimated the state has 9,000 to 10,000 acres of “grass” and volume is expected to be similar to last season. There also is good news in that water supplies have improved a lot over a year ago with reservoirs continuing to rise.
Asparagus shipments typically get a boost from the Easter observance (April 16th), which is one of the most popular times of year for the vegetable.
Last week in our report on the growing volume from Mexico with many vegetables, we noted it often comes at the expense of California. An excellent example of this is labor costs.
California’s minimum wage is headed to $15 per hour by 2023. A new law also requires agricultural workers to be paid overtime after eight hours, down from 10 hours previously. Asparagus is cut by hand and is one of the most labor intensive crops in the produce industry.