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California vegetable grower makes Napa cabbage a year-round commodity
Uesugi Farms, one of the largest growers of Napa cabbage in the country, is officially able to offer the cruciferous vegetable year-round thanks to a partnership with one of their growers in Mexico.
George Uesugi, long-time farmer and mentor to the Aiello family, had been growing Napa cabbage since the 1950s. Ever since Joe Aiello purchased the farm in 1979, they’ve been continuing what George started, growing Napa cabbage in a few different California districts. However, 2017 will be the first year that Uesugi Farms will have a year-round program for Napa cabbage.
“We’ve always grown Napa here in California, but we were missing coverage for the late winter and early spring. With a goal to transform as many of our commodities as we can to year-round status, we took the initiative and partnered with one of our growers in Mexico that could cover that timeframe,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms.
This isn’t Uesugi’s first achievement converting commodities to year-round status. They have already been offering a year-round supply of green, red and yellow bells, mini sweets and hot peppers. Napa cabbage is their second product that will be grown year-round, with hopes of making sweet corn their third.
“We already grow our bells, minis and hot peppers down in Mexico, so this is nothing new for us. With our knowledge and experience, we’re confident our Napa harvest will turn out successful, our yield will be strong and the program with our Mexican grower will be long-lasting,” said Pete.
Napa cabbage is very popular in Asian cuisine and is used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stir-frys to kimchi and spring rolls. With the Chinese New Year approaching on January 28th, Uesugi expects to see an increase in demand for their Napa and is happy to report they’ll have plenty to offer for the widely-celebrated festival.
Uesugi’s Northern California production of Napa cabbage, located in Gilroy, California, is from April through November. From there, they move their operations down to the Imperial Valley in Holtville, California from November through February. To complete their year-round cycle, they will now ship their Mexican product from Nogales, Arizona from January through April.
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