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Turnip market enters transition period in the United States

The turnip season is entering a transition time of the year, when production is shifting from the northern US growing regions to the more southerly regions. In Minnesota, growers have been pleased with the season there, with solid volumes and good quality showing through. 

"Most regions in the United States are having a good turnip crop this year," said Chuck Fields, of Ed Fields and Sons in Minnesota. "The Minnesota and Michigan seasons are finishing up, while Texas and California are starting and there are also some coming out of Georgia. After some early rains in the northern season, there was a little too much moisture, but after that, the weather has been good and volume was solid. We have been shipping good quality turnips, and there has not been as much disease pressure. It's been a good season."

Demand soft
With the seasons overlapping, there is a strong supply of turnips coming out of the different regions. Demand has also been soft, while customers have been turning to a number of other root vegetables at the expense of turnips. 

"We are currently seeing an overlap situation in the market with turnips coming out of a number of different regions," Fields said. "There was a little bit of additional demand around Thanksgiving but overall, demand has been a little slow. An upturn in volume was seen for rutabagas, parsnips and carrots but not so much on the turnips. Christmas will also see an increase in demand for those other 3 items and we will wait and see what will happen in terms of turnips."

20oz bags used instead of 1lb bags
When it comes to shipping the product, Fields said their company uses 20oz bags instead of the typical 1lb. He noted that having an extra turnip or two in the package gives them a more favorable appearance on the shelf, as larger vegetables can limit the space available in the smaller bags. 

"We ship our product in 25lb polybags, as well as a 20lb waxed boxes," Fields said. "We also sell them in a 20oz bag as opposed to the more typical 1lb bag. I think we are one of the only suppliers of the 20oz bags in the country. We feel they are better looking with 4-5 in a bag, rather than any fewer, especially when there are larger turnip sizes which restricts the amount you can put in the smaller 1lb bags."

For growers, encouraging more people to purchase and eat turnips is a way to increase sales. Recipes as well as promoting the health benefits are part of this strategy. "Turnips are rarely cooked alone," noted Fields. "They are often used as part of a vegetable soup or mashed with potatoes. On some of our packages, we place recipes as well as give nutritional information to encourage more people to buy and cook them and to enjoy them as a healthy and tasty vegetable." 

For more information:
Chuck Fields
Ed Fields and Sons
Tel: +1 (763) 421-5283

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