Yields of carrots are lighter than normal right now and could potentially become tighter in the coming months.
“There’s not a lot of size coming out of California at the moment,” says Rob Giragosian with Arvin, CA-based Kern Ridge Growers, LLC. “All our carrots are grown in California. The wildfires we had last year diminished the sun exposure for an extend period which affected our harvest. We saw a decline in the size of the carrots and a reduction in yields. We have moved through those plantings and should see production get back to normal soon. Overall, supplies are on the tighter side and a little off from a typical year but not by much.”
At the same time along with supplies out of California, Giragosian notes that additional regions are coming on from Arizona, Texas and Mexico.
Meanwhile demand is stronger this year for carrots. “The USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program and the school lunch box programs have kept demand strong on carrots. The programs are buying up any excess product in the market on a lot of different commodities, which has kept our markets strong throughout the pandemic,” says Giragosian.
Other lifts in demand
Other increases in demand were for organic carrots. “That’s definitely up from a typical year and the market overall did very well,” says Giragosian. Demand for snack packs was also up. “Especially with the limited supply situation—they’re machine-intensive and it takes more time to get them out,” he says.
That’s left pricing “all over the board.” “The demand for snack packs has increased this year and pricing has been moving,” says Giragosian.
Looking ahead could be a time of change though. “Over the next few weeks as regions open up, I see demand increasing as the foodservice sector starts working to get back to some level of normal,” he says. “As the regions open up, there’ll be a higher demand for jumbos and foodservice items such as bulk packs.”
He also adds that as people come back to restaurants, that increased demand could shorten the market as well given supplies will need to meet not only the return of foodservice but the added demand from the government box programs. “You may have to stretch your units even further then you were which could tighten the market pretty quick. Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see some changes,” says Giragosian.