The Maine broccoli harvest is due to begin next week. Rain and cooler temperatures during the growing season has resulted in the crop being about ten days behind, according to growers. However, quality is looking good and volume is set to match the long term average.
"We anticipate shipments for Maine broccoli starting the week of July 22 and producers will continue shipping through October," said Lauren Keenan of Fresh from the Start™. "Due to rain and cool temperatures in Maine, we are approximately ten days delayed this season. We ship over one million boxes of broccoli per season, and expect to do the same this year."
Involved all year
While the Maine broccoli harvest might last about three months out of the year, the reality is that growers begin preparing for the next season after the last broccoli has been sent to the packing shed. This includes ground preparation over winter and also seed propagation.
“We prepare for this crop all year,” said Eric Scannelli, Senior Vice President of Sales at Fresh from the Start™. “We begin preparing the fields immediately following harvest and work with our grower throughout the year to ensure a successful crop. When customers buy from us they are dealing directly with the grower.”
He added, "All broccoli is hand-cut and packed in the field to minimize bruising and post-harvest handling."
Great for East Coast customers
The Maine broccoli crop is highly anticipated each year. Part of the reason for this is because it is one of the largest commercial broccoli crops east of the Mississippi. Therefore growers are keen to point out the "local" aspect of it, noting that customers in the eastern part of the country will have fresher broccoli than if it were arriving from California or Mexico. "For our customers in the east, our Fresh from the Start Maine Broccoli is days fresher than shipments from California and retailers save significantly on freight costs."
Keenan added, "Fresh from the Start have been shipping broccoli for over 25 years and we provide next day delivery to most major markets."
Fresh from the Start will be shipping broccoli from Maine for the next three months before switching to other programs to continue their year-round availability. Keenan also shared that the company just moved into their new headquarters in Westhampton Beach, NY. This new facility is 30,000 square feet.