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US cabbage growers have the market to themselves
“Supply of cabbage is good right now. We’re now cutting in Carolina and Delaware and we’ll start in Georgia starting next week,” says Calvert Cullen of Va.-based Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., which mostly grows cabbage for retail with a smaller segment of larger cabbage for foodservice. “The supplies are just about the same as last year.”
U.S. suppliers are enjoying having the market to themselves right now. “Luckily we don't have to fight the imported cabbage deal right now. There is a little bit of storage cabbage in Canada but we grow strictly fresh market cabbage which is a different type of cabbage. So our trade, unless you’re a processor, Canadian cabbage is really a different animal,” says Cullen “We won’t feel any pressure really until Mexico starts. Everything in the U.S., we’re all on the same page.”
Last year, the U.S. competed heavily with imported cabbage from Mexico. “Come the end of December, from then on, we have to fight with them all the time and they’ll send it across the border for nothing,” he says.
Meanwhile demand for cabbage has been steady and will likely see an increase soon. “As the season increases, especially with certain holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s coming up, for the holidays we’ll see demand will pick up,” says Cullen.
This means pricing, which is on par with 2016’s prices, is stable and has been what Cullen describes as “middle of the road” since Mexico last finished its cabbage season.
“In the next couple of weeks, demand will increase as we move towards the holidays, but supplies will also increase as everybody starts the Georgia crops,” he says. “Sometimes, depending on how much supply comes out of Georgia, with the holiday demand, the market will either increase a little bit because there’s not enough demand or if everybody’s production comes in heavy, then they’ll just stay stable like it is now.”
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