Hurricane Idalia helps strengthen bell pepper markets

For most of the summer, the supply of bell peppers has exceeded the demand for them. “The heavier crops were being grown in the East compared to Western production, which has been more balanced through the summer,” says Brian Rayfield, president of PennRose Farms LLC. However, he adds that cooler weather in northern areas such as Quebec and Ontario in Eastern Canada and New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in the U.S. are limiting new crop production over the next 30 days, which will lead to more active markets.

Florida bell pepper field. Photos: PennRose Farms.

As for the timing of the season, most production areas have been on time. “Additional production from Central Mexico and good yields in many Midwest and Northeast growing areas have led to promotable supplies the last eight weeks,” says Rayfield.

In all, bell pepper production has been going in numerous areas across North America, including California, Mexico, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and in multiple areas of Ontario and Quebec. “It is the broadest range of producing areas seen all year,” says Rayfield.

Pricing picking up
As for pricing, generally, for the last few weeks, it’s been well below 2022 pricing. While markets are slowly rising, they remain modestly below prior-year levels. Meanwhile, production costs are rising at a faster rate than the net farm-gate FOB values. “For the coming year in Mexico, with most inputs derived with dollar investment, the dollar’s weakness against the Peso will have an additional inflationary impact on production costs, particularly from Mexico,” says Rayfield.

Looking ahead, bell pepper markets will trade higher in the next four to five weeks. “This is generally a window when fall promotions kick in, but considering the weather impact of hurricane Idalia in North Florida and South Georgia, markets should be more active than they have been for most of 2023,” adds Rayfield.

Back at PennRose Farms, along with marketing conventional bell peppers, it’s also launched an organic produce line marketed under the Rowdy Rabbit Organics brand that includes organic green and colored bell peppers. “We begin shipping our new crop of organic pepper from Northwest Mexico in December and will be increasing domestic production with Georgia and Florida crops during the fall, winter, and spring growing windows,” says Rayfield.

For more information:
PennRose Farms LLC
Tel.: +1 (813) 633-8910

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