Good Winter Vegetable Volume is Expected from the California Desert

Good Winter Vegetable Volume is Expected from the California Desert


California’s desert regions shift into high gear with winter vegetable shipments as many other parts of the country go into the proverbial deep freeze.

Imperial County grows more than 65 commodities, with head and leaf lettuces, broccoli, spinach and carrots among its primary crops. Likewise, Coachella Valley grows everything from cabbage to carrots to cauliflower.

Due to mild temperatures in these Colorado Desert regions, along with Central Coast locations such as Salinas and Oxnard, produce haulers have loading opportunities throughout the winter for fresh produce including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, lettuces and celery.

When cooler temperatures hit Northern California and the weather becomes wetter in the winter months, many growers head south for the season to Yuma, AZ., or Mexico. However, some prefer to farm certain commodities in California’s desert regions.

Ocean Mist Farms in Castroville, Calif., grows a small percentage of its winter crops in Yuma, as well as Salinas Valley and Oxnard, yet the company reserves Coachella Valley as its primary winter growing region due to its abundant resources and ideal winter climate. The company’s winter crops grown in Southern California include artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, fennel, lettuces and spinach.

Higher than normal temperatures have led to an earlier-than-usual harvest for some crops and may cause issues with seed stems in the romaine and iceberg lettuces.

To help mitigate the issue, growers will often harvest the lettuce a bit earlier, which leads to smaller sizing and lower weight.

However, the romaine crop looks good, and the growing conditions have been very nice.

Boskovich Farms in Oxnard, grows spinach and cilantro crops as well as parsley, cabbage, celery and bok choy on its Ventura County farmland.

Ocean Mist expresses confidence it will be able to provide a strong supply of winter vegetables and was in full production for Coachella Valley crops Nov. 27.