North America is coming into a period of lighter hot pepper supply as production starts to shift locations. Apart from the seasonal transition, there have been a few other factors that have affected supplies and kept prices strong, including less acreage planted and weather in some of the growing regions.
"Although hot peppers are available year round, there are seasonal volume spikes in the early spring months and later summer months," said Adam Cancellieri, one of the partners at Veg-Fresh Farms. "Baja production goes from May to November, so we will soon see production move to Sinaloa where the season lasts from November to June."
"This year, supplies have been lighter due to less product being planted," he continued. "Also, there was a lot of rain in Sinaloa, specifically in Sonora, which has affected supply. So overall, we have seen higher pricing, a little lower supply, but demand for hot peppers is very strong."
Serrano chile peppers (left) and 5lb Jalapeno chili peppers
Specialty peppers and organic seeing growth
This strong demand for organic hot peppers as well as specialty varieties such as Shishito is providing growers an excellent market environment. Cancellieri noted that this demand is coming from multiple directions - from retail to foodservice and processing.
"Shishitos are a growing item for both retail and foodservice," he said. "Consumers are looking for this item and responding when they see it at the store or in restaurants. We have also seen an uptick in demand for organic jalapenos from salsa manufacturers, which is an exciting growth opportunity."
Plenty of programs on show at PMA
Veg-Fresh Farms offers a broad range of products, so PMA is an opportunity for them to showcase their various organic and conventional programs to existing and potential customers. The company said one of the many advantages of PMA is the opportunity to develop relationships with customers, growers, vendors, and other partners that are also at the show. They will also be launching some new products at this year's PMA.
Handy Candy blueberry cups
"We will be featuring our staple organic and conventional items that make up the core of Veg-Fresh Farms: tomatoes, onions, potatoes, as well as citrus, tropicals and other dry veg," said Carrie Robertson, one of the marketing managers at Veg-Fresh Farms. "We’re also excited to show off our organic hard squash program, and our organic resealable snacking line. We launched this last year at PMA, and in 2018 we have expanded this line even further to include a full family of organic snacking tomatoes, as well as organic snap peas and organic kiwis."
Robertson added that the company also has a berry category and will be highlighting some new products here too, including their Handy Candy Blueberry Cups. "We are also excited to feature our berry label, Crystal Cove Berry Farms, with brand new labels that we have launched in the last year. Also adding to our berry program are new triple-washed, grab and go Handy Candy Blueberry Cups. We have been innovating on this concept for almost 2 years and we are officially launching in early 2019 – so PMA will be the unveiling of this new item! We are also excited to showcase a limited time run of fun, seasonal Halloween labels on a few conventional items that will liven up the produce department."
Veg-Fresh Farms will be located at Booth #3785 at PMA.