Could Hurricane Idalia impact the Southeast veg market?

Though reports are early and growers will likely know more this week, there are some accounts of loss and damage following Hurricane Idalia in the Southeast.

Neil Mazal of East Coast Farms & Vegetables says in Valdosta, Georgia, and slightly west of Valdosta, there are indications of some damage. “There are reports of seedling plants down and of plastic being torn up as well as flooding and standing water,” he says.

Nearby Lake Park, Georgia has also seen some impact with some plants being down, reports of flooding and bloom drop. Some growers also waited to plant and will start late due to the storm. “So it looks like the pepper market from the second week in September to the end of October will see a significant reduction in production on green pepper,” says Mazal.

Photo: National Hurricane Center

Eggplant market jumps
Eggplant could also be affected given grower reports of staked eggplants seeing some damage. “I’m hearing that the market is elevated and the West doesn’t have much supply so people are quoting as high as $22 and $24 today on fancy eggplant--an uptick of $12 a few days ago,” says Mazal.

In Florida, the bean deal could be impacted following damage in the Northwestern corner of the state. “The beans there are probably damaged and there will be some loss or some people who saw the storm coming and delayed planting,” adds Mazal, noting that that deal is also likely to be affected from the second week of September to mid-October.

Also in Florida, citrus growers seem to be breathing a sigh of relief--particularly given the effects it’d seen in 2022 with Hurricane Ian. “This hurricane was a non-event for the citrus industry here in Florida. It went in north and west and we got a little bit of rain in some of the citrus belt with a little bit of wind but no damage at all,” says Dan Richey of Riverfront Packing Company.

Noble Citrus’s Quentin Roe concurs. “We got three to four inches of rain, which was much needed. There was no wind damage to crops or trees so everyone is happy and ready to start a productive and profitable season,” he says.

For more information:
Neil Mazal
East Coast Farms & Vegetables

Dan Richey
Riverfront Packing Company

Quentin Roe
Noble Citrus

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