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Greater supply of broccoli ahead

The gap in broccoli supply is starting to shift with more supply expected. The gap is due to missed plantings from rain back in February and March in Santa Maria and Salinas, California. "It would be nice during the week and then rain on the weekends which it did for about eight to 10 weeks. That kept the ground wet enough so they couldn't work it at the normal cycles and they weren't able to get things planted," says Russ Widerburg of Valley Produce West. He adds that this has been seen in multiple items through the spring and early part of summer including cabbage, mixed lettuce, head lettuce, and more.

Add to those gaps more cool weather along the coast for the last three to four weeks and that in turn has slowed production down and impacted the chance of closing up the planting gaps.

With that, the market has responded with pricing climbing from $15 up to even $50 in a matter of five to six days, though Widerburg says the market has likely peaked now. "There has been limited supply for the last couple of weeks and with the market being as high as it is, it's slowed down sales because the pricing is so high," he says, adding that demand has been good but the higher pricing moved buyers towards acquiring only what they need.

Other growing regions
However, supply is starting to increase to get back to normal levels. Canadian product will be coming on in a few weeks as will greater Mexican supply. "There's a little regression in the pricing now and it's starting to trend down," says Widerburg. Meanwhile, other local broccoli deals from the Ohio Valley, New York, and New Jersey will also come on in the coming weeks which will further impact demand.

Interestingly, cauliflower, which often goes hand in hand with broccoli in terms of supply and demand, has been relatively plentiful for the past few weeks. "We're starting to see a little bit of activity on the cauliflower market. Towards the end of the week, it looks like supplies might be lighter. The growing cycle could be off by two or three weeks but I don't know if we'll see the same reaction in cauliflower as we did broccoli," says Widerburg.

For more information:
Russ Widerburg
Valley Produce
[email protected]