Slow movement on eggplant puts pressure on supply

Eggplant supply is looking steady and plentiful right now. “There’s product coming out of Florida, Western Mexico and out of our farm in Yucatan, Mexico so there’s plenty available,” says Dug Schwalls of Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable out of Norman Park, Ga. Schwalls adds that Florida’s cold weather has delayed not only some of the onset of volume but also their start in the market, which began in early February. 

“Volume is pretty close to the same as last year,” says Schwalls. “There’s probably less being harvested because some people are walking away from fields because the market is pretty cheap right now. Volume is exceeding demand for sure and if people don’t have sales or can move the product, they’re not going to go out and cut it.” 

The Lent factor 
While demand is similar to last year at this time, Schwalls is seeing a change around consumption of eggplant and Lent. “From the beginning to the middle of Lent, it seemed that eggplant movement jumped up. But this year and last year that didn’t really hold true,” he says. “We haven’t really seen a big eggplant push for Lent like in previous years.”

That puts pricing at similar levels to last year. “It’s definitely not a strong market,” says Schwalls.

Looking ahead, Schwalls notes that the weather will determine the movement of eggplant. “A lot of it is going to be dictated by the weather in the Northeast and Canada where the majority of eggplant sales are,” he says. “If they have a lot of snow or adverse weather where people aren’t out shopping, then it’ll stay where it’s at. If it clears up and they get good weather and people get out, then you could see the market go up.”

For more information: 
Dug Schwalls 
Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable
Tel: +1-229-769-3676

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