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Steady outlook for New Jersey green lettuce season
Growers and buyers are not expecting any surprises in the upcoming New Jersey green lettuce season. The second growing period for the year is about to commence and conditions have been conducive to a reliable crop.
Dave Rogers, of Rogers Fresh, explained that the season in southern New Jersey was looking close to trend. "The green lettuce season is still a little bit off and we expect it to begin in early October and it should last until the second week of November. It's too early to determine how the yield is looking but by all accounts, growers are expecting a season close to the average," said Rogers. "We are carrying the regular green leaf lettuce as well Romaine in our green varieties. Quality is looking good and there haven't been any problems this year that we're aware of."
Demand looking steady also
Early indications are that the market is looking steady as it was over the earlier spring season. The New Jersey Fall season transitions comfortably with other growing regions and the market price is not expected to fluctuate.
"Here in southern Jersey, the lettuce season begins a week or so later than in northern parts, where the summer dissipates earlier," Rogers noted. "Our spring season also usually starts and finishes a little earlier as the lettuce doesn't grow when it's too warm. In terms of US production, New Jersey is still dwarfed by other regions such as Arizona and California, but it transitions well in to the market at this time of year. The price is sitting well at the moment, in the mid teens for a carton of 24s and we predict that it will stay steady throughout the Fall season."
Organic still too costly
The market for organic lettuce is moderate, as not as many growers have launched organic lines as other commodities. Rogers explained that it is still too expensive to establish and maintain organic lettuce and therefore production is limited.
"There's a lot of chatter around regarding organic lettuce," he said. "But it's still too costly for most growers to take on. You're looking at a doubling of production costs to launch it so that puts most growers off at the moment."
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