US celery market remains depressed

The celery market is very low at the moment as abundant production coupled with weak demand keeps prices at a very low level. While other commodities rose recently due to a stalling of production, celery has not been able to recover, and suppliers say this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future as supplies, especially from Mexico, remain strong.

"Celery overall is seeing a flat and depressed market," said Mark Sato of Fortune Growers. "It has been trading very cheaply, at below cost for several weeks now and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We have seen excellent quality coming out of Mexico as there have been absolutely no issues with weather there. We've also been seeing clean celery coming out of California for the past few months. Other vegetable items such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts have experienced an upturn in the market, but celery remains very low."



Weak demand and increase in overall production
While recent weather has contributed to the abundant celery supply, there has been an increase in the number of growers that entered the market. Additionally, unfavorable weather conditions on the East Coast is keeping a lid on demand.

"The Nor-Easters that have been battering the East Coast are keeping demand very soft," Sato observed. "Not enough demand and plentiful supply is keeping this market low. Last year saw an excellent market which inspired confidence and brought on a bunch of new plantings, particularly in Mexico. We're now seeing a lot of supply coming out of there."

Sato said potential gaps in the market may encourage prices to rise eventually. "It has been very warm in Mexico and we may see some gapping arise as product has been coming on very quickly," he said. "We're also going to see the end of the season for some growers. It's events like these that could see prices rebound."



Viva Fresh attendance
This year marks the first year that Fortune Growers will have a booth at Viva Fresh. The company has been in attendance in previous years, but this year they felt the need to establish a presence there. An increase in produce coming out of Mexico is a major factor and one the company sees will be an increasingly dominant aspect for North American produce in the future. 

"Fortune Growers felt it was very important to have a booth at Viva Fresh," Sato said. "We continue to see more demand and interest in cross-border products which has turned shows like these from regional events into nationally important ones. More people from around the nation are attending. With the issues that growers are facing in California, from labor to drought, Mexico is being seen as a viable alternative moving forward."

"To have a better presence at the show demonstrates our position as a one-stop shop on Mexican produce," Sato continued. "Mexico presents new challenges and learnings which take time to improve and perfect. Buyers are looking for reliable and experienced suppliers. In the next week, we will be re-launching our green onion program which will tie in nicely with our participation at Viva Fresh."

For more information:
Mark Sato
Fortune Growers
Tel: +1 (805) 481-1055

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