Brussels sprouts market affected nationwide by California weather

Hot growing conditions due to El Nino weather patterns have severely affected California Brussels sprouts this year, according to reports from buyers who source from the region.

“This summer/fall has been the roughest season on Brussels sprouts that the industry has ever experienced,” says Jasmine Hines, of RBest Produce, a supplier based out of Port Washington, NY, known for its ‘Kings Sprouts’ brand. Hines says that growers are seeing unprecedented low yields and reduced crop sizing, largely due to hot weather.

“The El Nino weather event we are experiencing resulted in July, August, September, October, and the first half of November having day after day of 5 to 10 degrees above normal temperatures, both day and night,” says Hines. “Brussels sprouts do not grow well in hot weather.”

Yields, sizing, season length, & pricing all affected
For Hines’ company, which stakes its reputation on top-quality product, this has caused concerns. “Our suppliers budget for Salinas and Oxnard production to yield 900 cartons or more per acre. This year yields ended up only being 675, which is about 70 percent of the norm,” Hines explains. “Additionally, small size sprouts are usually 20 to 30 percent of the yield and this year ended at approximately 50 percent. On top of that, [Salinas and Oxford growers] have ended harvests two to three weeks earlier than normal.” 

With supply levels reduced to roughly two thirds of normal levels, and demand at its peak due to the holidays, Brussels sprouts are now trading at $43.00 FOB for a 25 lb. carton.

Despite these conditions, Hines says that her company has worked hard to maintain the strict quality control that the Kings Sprouts brand is known for.

Hines notes that relief, while on the way, likely won’t arrive for roughly four weeks. “We don’t see the market or supplies changing through the end of December. Now we are into our Mexican production. Quality looks very nice from these areas, but it will be mid-January before we see any additional production.”

For more information:
Jasmine Hines
RBest Produce, Inc.
Tel: +1 (516) 705-0800

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