Supplies of green beans are ample for this month’s U.S. Thanksgiving.
“Supplies look very good. It’s night and day to last year,” says Mark Munger with 4Earth Farms in Los Angeles, CA. Munger says that last year, the season faced back to back tropical storms in the primary Mexican growing region and the Northern California region ended production early. “We had a really challenging supply situation. Last year we were worried about our ability to fulfill commitments for the holiday season and about the quality. When you have that much wet weather, you end up with a weaker product.”
This year however no inclement weather has hit the growing regions and the beans are good quality, Munger says. Along with growing in Sonora, Mexico which is just coming into good production, other growing regions producing include Baja California and Coachella Valley. “We also still have Florida in the season because they haven’t had any weather take them out. And there are new fields in Georgia,” says Munger. “In another period of time, having so many areas going may not be great for sales and marketing because you might see more depressed markets with that much strong supply. But going into Thanksgiving, green beans are a major item on most home menus, and it tends to be a period of very strong demand.”
Smaller gatherings mean more demand?
In fact, demand may even be stronger than last year. “With COVID-19, we’re not certain about what it will do to demand,” says Munger. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging families to have smaller gatherings. That means there may be more Thanksgiving dinners prepared and green beans are a staple of the U.S. Thanksgiving plate. All of our prebooked orders say demand will be up versus last year.”
Meanwhile, while it’s not Thanksgiving specific, Munger says general interest in organic green beans continues to grow as well. “We grow both organic and conventional and our breakout is about 50-50. A steady trend over the last four years has been the growth of organics and year-round demand continues to go up,” he says. “Very soon we’ll see a shift in our production portfolio where we’re going to be growing more organic beans than conventional.”
As for pricing, currently pricing is stable given the strong demand meeting good supplies. “Last year the market was very very high because there was such limited supply,” he adds.
Following Thanksgiving, 4Earth is working on having organic yellow beans available in time for the Christmas holidays. “We’ll have limited quantities for the holidays. But as the Mexican season begins to increase--which happens in December--we’re excited to have something unique to offer in the bean category,” he says.