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Drought demanded new program in another State

Better water allocations for sweet corn in Arizona than California

As a year round value added supplier in California, sweet corn supply has been fairly steady. Five Crowns sources a proprietary variety that’s contract grown in Mexico, Northern California and even Arizona. Northern California’s water shortage was an issue. “That affected us to a certain extent but right now I would hope their allocations for water, since they’ve had some pretty good rain, are better,” said Director of Sales, Daren Van Dyke. “Because of the water situation (there) we began growing in Arizona and it’s amazing that you would have (more) water in Arizona than in Northern California. That goes to show the state of drought that we’ve been experiencing.” The Arizona deal supports the 4th of July pull and after that they switch exclusively to Northern Calif. 

Demand for corn in general has been on the rise. “It’s the most popular veg for kids,” he said. “With the newer varieties coming out that have a better flavour profile, we continue to see demand improve in packaged and in raw product.” Corn has evolved over the last 20 years from the original Golden Jubilee, which had a very poor shelf life (of about three days) to today’s higher sugar level, more tender varieties.

Even though consumption is at its peak in the summer, Five Crowns can offer value add sweet corn in the winter because the produce has such a good shelf life. “We’re doing the quality control for them, so when it’s on the shelf it looks good, tastes good, the varieties are good and the husks don’t discolour. This is a much safer way to continue to offer their customers corn.”

Price overall this year was "decent", though in the future, with cost increases, that could change for growers of all kinds of produce. “I think the biggest challenge we face as an industry in selling corn is rising production costs, for example cardboard cartons continue to rise in price. In California we’re going to deal with another minimum wage increase, so variable costs of producing the product continue to rise.” On the retail side, Van Dyke says they encourage retailers to sell in multiples to prevent loss leader sales instead of offering deep discounts that are still a good buy for the consumer.

For more information:
Daren Van Dyke
Five Crowns
Tel: 760.344.1930