Celery market poor as Mexico season begins

Growers of celery are in the midst of the transition to the Mexican season as some US and Canadian production winds down for the year. The start of the Mexico season is said to be on time and so far, has not been impacted by any adverse weather or other issues. Additionally, quality is good in the early stages.

"We are just starting up our celery season in Mexico this week," shared Mark Sato of Fortune Growers. "Volume-wise, we should be fully onboard by next week. Timing has been exactly in line with our schedule. So far, the product we are seeing coming through is of excellent quality."

Expect strong supplies
Suppliers are anticipating strong volumes due to additional acreage being planted during the course of the year. Last year's extremely high market has encouraged more growers to come on board. However, this may have backfired with abundant supplies forecast and continued low pricing as a result.

"Last year we saw months on end of FOBs in the $50 - $60 range," Sato explained. "As a result, there has been a lot of interest from producers to grow celery, even from those that have never grown it before. However, the market is much weaker than last year. For example, we have been seeing continued strong pricing on commodities such as broccoli and cauliflower, but celery prices have been below cost. By this observation, we can only assume there is a lot of product out there."

He said the past week saw a slight rise in the market as Michigan finished its season, but it's likely to only be a short term boost. "We can realistically expect a lower market this year on the back of additional planting and perhaps lower quality as more inexperienced growers enter the market. Overall we will keep our expectations in check."

Celery still popular for Thanksgiving
Four weeks out from Thanksgiving, and celery suppliers are expecting to have good supplies for the upcoming holiday. It's a good time for celery, as it is a staple in turkey stuffing and for the Thanksgiving table in general. This should provide much-needed stimulation to the market for the short term.

"Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays for celery," Sato observed. "The challenge for celery is to maintain its position among vegetable items. With its high water content, celery is less nutrient-dense when compared with some other vegetables. This may affect future demand as more consumers - particularly younger buyers - make more food decisions based on health benefits."

For more information:
Mark Sato
Fortune Growers
Ph: +1 (805) 481-1055

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