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Light US supplies mean high demand for carrots

Carrot supplies are looking light.

“We’re pretty limited especially on larger sized carrots,” says said Chris Smotherman with Kern Ridge Growers in Arvin, Ca. “The summer was so hot I think that it stunted some of the growth that we had coming out of our Bakersfield crop and they’re just behind where they need to be. We kind of know going in that yields are going to be poor. We’re probably off by about 20 per cent.”

Jared Leadbetter from Majestic Produce Sales in McAllen, Texus, said that they have also seen light supplies. “We’re only getting about two loads per week of regular 50lb place packed jumbo carrots,” says Leadbetter. “We are down around 60 per cent compared to last year and I'm pretty sure everyone else is too.”

Photo: Kern Ridge Growers

That said, while its organic program is small, Smotherman’s organic carrots are normal on volume. “As the weather turns and we get cooler weather, the yields on organics will fall off and that’s normal,” he says.

Foreign pressure
2017 though saw some pressure from foreign markets on carrots—some expected, some heavier than anticipated. “Carrots from Mexico impacted the market this last year. There were a lot of carrots available during the summer and that really drove the market down,” says Smotherman. “And right now, the Canadian carrots are doing their local crops so that demand for service for Canada shifts to their local crops.”

Meanwhile demand is higher of course because the market is limited on supply, though Smotherman notes that he’s unsure whether the demand is any higher than normal. That makes for strong carrot pricing. “Pricing for jumbo carrots is pretty strong,” Smotherman says. “Other carrots haven’t really responded that much. It’s a pretty normal market on them right now. Jumbos are much higher than last year.”

Demand to push up
Demand will likely continue to be higher given the move towards the holidays. “Once the Canadian carrots come to a stop, they’ll be looking for product. And going into the holidays, carrots are an item retailers like to promote as the weather starts to change so all of this will contribute to demand,” Smotherman says. “And we know the supply side of the equation won’t be very good.”

For more information:
Chris Smotherman
Kern Ridge Growers
Tel: +1 661 854 3156

Jared Leadbetter
Majestic Produce Sales
+1 956 928 0300

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