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Record heat, snow impact crops across the country

By
Craig Levitt, managing editor

Weather has been the word of the month. There were record May temperatures in the East, the western part of the country endured a late-season snowstorm and the drought in the Southwest lead to fires in New Mexico.   

In the East the unseasonably warm weather and the Memorial Day pull are increasing produce demand, according to Mark Campbell, founder and CEO of ProduceIQ.

“Harvest transitions are under way, yet not fully complete, and quality supply may require your truck to pick up in more than one region,” he said.

Warm weather and rain are also forcing central Florida to wrap up its tomato season a week early, adding pressure to a reduced Mexican supply. Within the next two weeks, Quincy, FL, and south Georgia should pick up production and provide relief to the vine-ripe and the mature green round markets, Campbell said. Tomato markets in Florida are currently at $19.

Plum and grape-type markets are also priced higher due to short supply. Plum-type tomatoes are just barely short of a 10-year high, and grape-type prices are at a nine-year high. “Baja, Mexico, should pick up production over the next couple of weeks and ease overextended Roma and grape tomato supply. Additionally, June usually marks the increased availability of locally grown tomatoes as more domestic regions come online for the summer,” Campbell said.

Campbell reported that Brussels sprout prices are up for the seventh week due to low supply. He said extreme heat in Mexico is causing plants to bolt and reducing overall yields. Supply is expected to stay lean for another two weeks until domestic production picks up.

Celery prices are down slightly; however, supply is still on the leaner side this week. Lime prices are also off, down for the fifth straight week. “Prices are now a very reasonable $16 and may even drop further,” said Campbell.

Parsley prices are still at a 10-year high as recent heat in California triggered seeders and continues to cause shortages across the industry. “As a result, expect prices to stay elevated for the immediate future,” said Campbell.

Craig Levitt

Craig Levitt

About Craig Levitt  |  email

When his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player came crashing down due to lack of talent, Craig Levitt turned to journalism. He graduated from Hofstra University in 1992 and has covered various areas of the retail food trade since 1996. Craig joined The Produce News in 2017 and is now managing editor. In his spare time, Craig still plays men’s league hockey (poorly) and enjoys walking the aisles of his favorite supermarket with his wife and two daughters.

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