Supplies of greenhouse tomatoes continue to build which will likely bring down high tomato prices.
“Supplies are slowly improving. Tomato supplies are very scarce before and after the holidays and now we’re starting to see more availability,” says David Pereira with Mor Gro Sales Inc. in Kingsville, Ont. “There was also a bit of a shortage on field tomatoes so that also probably drove markets higher.”
Mor Gro, an Ontario grower that produces snacking tomatoes such as grape medleys, beefsteak and tomato on the vines (TOVs), is currently out of production. “We are in a planting phase currently for all of our Ontario tomatoes and we’re probably about eight weeks away from harvest,” says Pereira. “I don’t believe there’s too much Ontario tomato production right now. There’s some but it’s minimal.”
Demand to pick up?
He describes demand for greenhouse tomatoes as moderate to okay. “It seemed like there was demand before Christmas but as the markets got high, demand staggered a little bit because of how expensive tomatoes got. I think buyers end up buying more cautiously when it got to that kind of price range. However demand for Ontario grown tomatoes continues as we ramp up our production. Consumers have grown accustomed to the quality product we provide and we look forward to another promising season.”
Meanwhile, prices are starting to lower on tomatoes. “As supplies are improving, the high prices are coming down. The high pricing was before the holidays and into the New Year. I don’t think it was quite this high last year at this time,” says Pereira. “Usually until about January 15th, you see relatively high pricing and then after that, as supplies improve, it comes down.”
Looking ahead, Pereira notes that Ontario should come on with its production mid-March (and that production runs through until early December). “And as availability improves and prices aren’t as aggressive, then buyers will maybe look to get back to regular business and getting their ads fulfilled. This time of year it’s really tough to get ads fulfilled when markets are so high,” Pereira says.