As the domestic okra season wraps up, supplies are beginning to thin out slightly.
“Supplies of okra are moderate for now. They’re not peaking but they’re not short either,” says Ari Kamberian of Tazza Produce in Los Angeles, Ca. “This is usual for this time of the year. Winter is coming and okra doesn’t like cold so it starts producing less.”
Tazza grows okra in California from just before the summer to late October. “And in about a month, okra will also begin coming in from Honduras and Nicaragua and some from Mexico as well,” Kamberian says.
He notes that supplies of the fruit, which is often found in stews and more and more commonly, eaten for its health properties, have been ample this season. “It’s not been excessively ample but it’s been a good amount,” says Kamberian. “Last year, perhaps there was a bit more okra but not by a large margin.”
He notes that consumers generally prefer okra to come in smaller sizes when the seeds are smaller and not as crunchy. “Our clients are always asking for small sizes and it can be hard to implement an effective way to pick at the right time,” Kamberian says. “It’s a lot of labor to pick more fruit and it’s more costly so it’s a challenge we face every year. But it’s nothing we’re not used to.”
Tazza's okra farm in Coachella, Ca.
While demand has been steady—and Kamberian notes that demand has continuously grown for okra since Tazza first began carrying the fruit nine years ago—pricing was lower this year. “It picked up for a bit but for the most part, it’s been below average,” he says. “Last year it was that way as well. Four or five years ago, it was way above average but that hasn’t been the case for the past few years.”