With hot temperatures arriving in the Coachella region, this signals the end of the eggplant season in the area. Growers have enjoyed excellent conditions during May, providing a quality crop with good coloring and decent volumes, leaving a positive mark. With temperatures now well over 100 degrees during the day, the eggplant will have a more difficult time to color up and subsequently the season will shortly come to an end.
"It's been a very good season," said Eddie Lopez of Peter Rabbit Farms. "Yields were good and the quality of the eggplant was excellent. It's been one of the coolest Mays we have had and it produced a fabulous crop. We are hitting some warmer temperatures now, with a couple of days over 110 degrees. You never know how the plant is going to react but generally, once the hot weather arrives, color lightens although quality is maintained."
External factors helped market
This year's Coachella eggplant season also attracted a reasonably good market according to suppliers. This was partly due to some issues with other regions along with the favorable growing conditions producing a good crop. For Peter Rabbit Farms, which primarily focuses on peppers, the relatively short eggplant season provides an added option for its customers.
"Eggplant provides a good mixture for our customers so we are happy to maintain our presence in the market," Lopez shared. "This season, the market stayed strong throughout and one of the reasons is because competing regions like Florida and Georgia experienced some problems with their crop."
Experimenting with larger box
Because of the excellent growing conditions in Coachella, fruit sizes tended on the larger side this season. This presented suppliers with an opportunity to trial out new packaging. Peter Rabbit Farms introduced a larger box to accommodate the larger sized eggplant and according to Lopez, it was well received by customers.
"Typically, we ship eggplants in 18s and 24s," he explained. "But this year, we had an abundance of size 12 eggplant. Therefore we experimented with a larger box size for those that still wanted an 18ct box. We experienced good results and received positive feedback from our customers, with a few still using it. This has especially been the case for those that are looking to industrial and processing applications."