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Strong quality, but mixed volume reports on Ontario bell pepper production

While reports of Ontario bell pepper production vary slightly, pepper growers agree demand remains solid. 

“We’re having record yields this year,” says Jordan Kniaziew of Leamington, Ont.’s Zing! Health Forward. “We’re not through the full season yet but we’re seeing a substantial increase in supply across all colors—red, yellow and orange.” 

While Zing! Health Forward has been growing its peppers since 2013, Kniaziew says this year the product has hit peak demand. “It’s stronger than it’s ever been,” he says. “We’ve been building momentum in the retail space year after year.” 

Photo credit: Zing!Health Forward

Rain and clouds impact yield
Meanwhile at Exeter Produce and Storage in Exeter, Ont., Jim Veri also sees strong demand for peppers. “I do see supply and demand mechanics working in the marketplace,” he says, noting Exeter is currently halfway into its production season on greenhouse peppers. “It’s July and normally you wouldn’t see these mechanics this active.”

While Exeter hasn’t had to deal with issues such as the pepper weevil which some North American growers are contending with, weather conditions have reduced Exeter’s volumes somewhat, though the pepper quality is strong this year. “Our volumes are reduced because we’ve had rain and clouds and rain and clouds here,” he says. “In general, coloured peppers are a growth item but some of the inclement weather everywhere has created supply gaps.”

Photo credit: Exeter Produce and Storage

Prices on the rise?

In turn, prices have been pushed up slightly this year he says. This year, prices are pushed into the mid-$20s FOB which Veri notes is above average.

Meanwhile, peppers are a global commodity with numerous countries from Canada to the Dominican Republic to European countries producing them and Veri points to a quote he received that morning from the Netherlands which had next-day air from Netherlands in the low to mid-20s and the 10-day boat peppers in the mid-teens pricing, potentially putting downward pressure on pricing. “Historically we’ve seen more pepper pressure but we’re not seeing as much of it this year,” he says.

Meanwhile Exeter is ramping up its field pepper production which is set to begin July 22nd, approximately a week later than it did in 2016.

For more information:
Jordan Kniaziew
Zing! Health Forward
Tel: +1 (226) 280-1025

Jim Veri
Exeter Produce and Storage
Tel: +1 (519) 235-0141

Publication date: 7/6/2017
Author: Astrid van den Broek
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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