Warm weather could spur broccoli production in the coming weeks, and the boost in supplies could bring down prices on what has been a strong market.
“We've had an elevated market for quite some time,” noted Mark McBride of Coastline Produce. “But we're starting to see a boost in production brought on by warm fall weather, so the market is going to ease off. Better F.O.B. prices will lead to better retail prices, which we hope will translate to better movement.” He noted that prices for a carton of bunch broccoli got as high $20.00 per carton and as high as $22.00 for a carton of crown broccoli in September, but recent prices have come down and are now hovering near $12.00 for a carton of bunch broccoli and near $14.00 for a carton of crown broccoli.
Market swings have been mostly due to unusual weather conditions. But as growers get a handle on the weather, supplies have rebounded and prices have stabilized.
“All of 2014 has been unusual with its weather patterns,” said McBride. “We had warm nights into September, and a lot of the seed types that are planted during that period didn't respond well to the unusual weather, so yields were lower than expected.” The year-round production that California's growers undertake requires different seed varieties that can thrive in different conditions throughout the year. But abnormal weather can throw off those specialized varieties.
“We're now seeing more seed types that are bred specifically for this kind of weather, so they're responding better and we're seeing better yields,” said McBride. “We have a seed type for every season, and as we become more specialized yields can suffer if we don't have the anticipated weather patterns.”
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