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New Jersey seeing healthy volumes of eggplant

Eggplant supplies out of New Jersey are ample. “We’re in the prime part of our season throughout September and into the beginning of October,” says Bill Nardelli Sr. of Nardelli Brothers. “There are good supplies, and the quality has been good. It’s been an extremely hot, dry year, and that’s an advantage to a degree. It’s very expensive to raise crops when it’s so hot and dry because of the cost of irrigating, but if you have the ability to irrigate, you can raise a good, healthy crop.”

While the season was generally on time, the hot summer did push the growth of some of the crop along faster than usual. “Plantings caught up to each other a little bit, the ground temperatures are very warm, and things did progress rapidly in the middle of the summer,” says Nardelli. “But we’re now about on track as to where we should be.”

Along with New Jersey, which Nardelli says is the largest eggplant-producing region in the U.S., other regions are also currently growing eggplant, including the Carolinas, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, upstate New York, and Connecticut. “Production will transition closer to the end of September when Georgia gets started, and then there will be a full crop of eggplant in both Georgia and north Florida,” adds Nardelli.

Pricing vs. higher input costs
Meanwhile, the demand for eggplant is average. “Pricing has been down a little bit from where we’d like to see it. Eggplant started out higher, but for the bulk of the season, the markets have been off a little bit. Especially compared to the cost to raise it,” says Nardelli. “The margins are getting smaller because of the input costs.”

Looking ahead, as supply diminishes, Nardelli notes there will be an uptick in demand again, which should influence pricing. In the days leading up to Columbus Day in early October, eggplant demand also tends to strengthen somewhat.

For more information:
Bill Nardelli Sr.
Nardelli Brothers
Tel: +1 (856) 447-4000 

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