California cold wreaks havoc on Quebec cauliflower market

As California growers grapple with continuing cold snaps, suppliers across the continent are reeling from “extremely” high prices.

“Mother nature is affecting product big time,” says Marty Brown of Les Jardins Cousineau, a supplier based out of Saint-Constant, Quebec. While Brown’s company spends most of its year sourcing cauliflower locally, it is reliant on Southwest growers for late fall, winter, and early spring. “We mainly pull from California [this time of year],” Brown explains.

For the 2015/2016 winter season, that has caused issues for Brown’s company. Brown says that cold weather has dramatically affected cauliflower supply levels in California, and with holiday demand high, US buyers are receiving the bulk of product. “Essentially the processors get first bite,” he says. That has led to $40.00 to $50.00 FOB prices on 28 lb. cases of 12 size cauliflowers, prices Brown describes as “extremely high.” With added freight and exchange costs, product is arriving in Quebec at over $70.00 per case.

“You’re looking at seven, eight, or nine dollars a head at retail,” he explains.

Company’s new operation starting late
For Les Jardins Cousineau, the cold weather has caused delays in a new California-based winter growing program. This is the first year Les Jardins Cousineau will be sourcing cauliflower from its new farm in Guadalupe, CA. The company originally expected to begin harvests in the second week of December. With the cold weather, that start date has been pushed back to January.

Weather issues are also expected to damage yields. “We were expecting around 15,000 cases per week,” Brown says. “Now we’re hoping for 10,000 cases when we start in January.”

For more information:
Marty Brown
Les Jardins Cousineau
Tel: +1 (450) 635-9000

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