Sweet corn season reaching its peak in South Florida

The spring sweet corn season has arrived and the Sunshine Sweet Corn Farmers of Florida said they are enjoying almost perfect conditions for the start of the season. Warmer weather in late winter ensured that the South Florida sweet corn crop got off to a good start. As they begin the season and as the weather becomes warmer, sweet corn production will climb northwards peaking just before Memorial Day.

"Sweet corn season traditionally begins with the Florida crop. Known as the spring crop, it extends from early March to the end of May," said Scott McDulin of Schmieding Produce. "We are just getting started with the early part of the season but we are confident this is the beginning of a fantastic corn season that runs through September. After we wrap up Florida, we move north into our Georgia and Alabama farms in late May/early June before going into states such as Missouri, Indiana, Colorado and many other corn producing states north of the Mason Dixon line after July 10th."

"South Florida enjoys a nice niche at this time of year, being the only region in the eastern United States currently producing corn," Schmieding continued. "February was one of the warmest on record which has resulted in some excellent quality sweet corn. Sizing, BRIX - or sweetness - is exceptional this year and the weather has so far really helped in that regard."

Demand in step with temperature
As the weather warms up, so do people's grills, and this is exactly what Florida sweet corn growers want to see. There is a close correlation between demand and the temperature, with warmer weather improving demand and cooler weather softening it. 

"Non-holiday demand for sweet corn swings with the ebb and flow of the weather," McDulin noted. "As the weather warms up in the northern states, the demand for sweet corn rises. Also, retailers are more inclined to advertise sweet corn as consumers start doing more outdoor activities, including grilling, and obviously bulk corn is a big part of that. As a result, the boost in demand is closely related to how warm the weather is."

Tray packs receive great response
Earlier in the year, Schmieding Produce introduced a sweet corn tray pack, consisting of several de-husked pieces of corn in a pack. McDulin said that the response has been excellent, with this product showing signs of good, steady growth. 

"We added tray pack corn into our lineup this season," he said. "The tray pack is a value-added product, which presents typically four to five ears of de-husked corn in a plastic overwrap. This is a convenience package that enables the consumer to see the quality of our corn. 4ct is the most popular size, but some of the club stores prefer larger packs, with as many as 12 per tray. The response from customers has been great and we are very excited to see it as a growing category, in addition to our main bulk program."

Bi-color and yellow corn seeing good season
While the tray packs have made a strong presence this year, as McDulin noted, bulk corn still makes up the majority of the market. Bi-color corn, with both yellow and white kernels, as well as yellow corn, represent the majority of demand and Florida growers are very happy with the quality they're seeing so far. 

"Bi-color, yellow and white corn are all available now out of Belle Glade and we are seeing some very good yields so far," McDulin said. "Most growers I have spoken to in Florida are very happy with their crop so far and as long as the weather holds, quality is expected to remain very high. We are looking forward to a fantastic corn season as we are very well positioned to make the most of it."

For more information:
Scott McDulin
Schmieding Produce
Tel: +1 (561) 319-2748

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