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“The weather issues changed the short-term markets,” says Richard Cowden of Fresno, Ca.-based Baloian Farms. “So we went from very affordable to very expensive. Now that the weather has settled back down, we’re expecting things to be affordable again. There was some very cold weather and then there was rain. So we couldn’t harvest because of the rain on those particular days and the cold weather slowed down the growing so there wasn’t as many available to harvest from.”
Supply though, notes Cowden, is generally comparable to last year’s volume.
And given demand tends to stay steady for peppers—particularly popular items such as green and sweet red peppers—pricing had almost doubled on the vegetable. “The short-term change in weather helped lift markets because there was no real supply concern in sight until about a week ago. And then they just turned on a dime.” Cowden adds that the markets for peppers went up sharply and quickly thinning out the pipeline of product. “Then with no more rain or cold temperatures, we’re now back on track,” he adds.
Production on the move
Looking ahead, Cowden notes that for Baloian, green peppers in the next month will be in transition. “Overall production of the growing districts of Culiacán and Los Mochis in Mexico will slow down as our open fields are going to peak on foodservice size green peppers, with steady but lighter supplies of retail sizing going forward,” he says, adding that new crop production in Coachella, Calif. will start the week of March 19th.
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