Supplies of California bok choy look good right now.
“We have very very good supplies of bok choy,” says Frank Ratto of Ratto Bros Inc. in Modesto, Ca., where supplies are coming from for Ratto’s year-round program. “We haven’t had the frost like we had last year so our volumes are good. It’s strong going into the first of the year.”
What growers are keeping an eye on are the California rains. “We may start having a problem with supplies if the weather gets cold here. If it gets too cold, then it burns it and it’s not marketable. And too much water makes it starts to turn yellow,” says Ratto. “We are getting a lot of rain. We have for the past week or so and more is forecast. But I don’t anticipate any major problems because the temperature is still around 55-60 degrees.”
Of course, colder temperatures mean a greater interest in the cooking vegetable. “Demand may be a little better this year too. We have nicer product this year to offer because we haven’t had too-cold weather,” adds Ratto.
That said, demand does look stronger on the baby bok choy compared to the full-size. “The market is kind of so-so on the regular size but the baby market is actually pretty good,” says Ratto. “I think it’s supply and demand. There are some tighter supplies out there on the baby and the bigger ones are in better supply.”
That means pricing right now is stronger on the baby product. “There aren’t a lot of growers of baby bok choy that we see in California. I think the range is anywhere from $18-$21 on a 30 lb. unit. A year ago at roughly this time, baby bok choy was $10.95 so it was cheaper,” says Ratto. “Right now on full size, it’s as low as $9-11, maybe a bit higher.”