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Freight rates help push Texas celery demand

Now that the Super Bowl, a celery-friendly event, is over, demand for Texas celery has softened somewhat. “Demand is a little sluggish,” says Jeff Brechler of Little Bear Produce. “The big party season is over with the Super Bowl being the last of it after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. The Super Bowl is the last hurrah for any kind of snacking or big cooking event of the season so now it’s business as usual. Hopefully, that sluggishness will turn around here at the beginning of March.”

That said, Brechler says celery consumption generally continues to grow. “It’s increased more so locally and in the middle of the U.S. because of freight advantages over California and Florida. We haven’t doubled in acreage since we started but there have been small incremental increases,” he says.

Sizing coming on
Meanwhile supply of celery out of South Texas is strong. The season started at the end of December and Brechler notes at the start, there was smaller sizing. “We were heavier to 30-count than we would have liked,” he says. “However then the market was crazy with what was going on in California--pricing was as high as $60. Now that we have gotten through January and into normal weather, growth and size structure are normal and sizing is good.” Supplies will continue from the region until the first week or 10 days of April.

All of this means pricing is back to historical norms for celery which is in the mid to upper teens, which is where Brechler says it will likely stay until the end of the season.  

Little Bear Produce will also continue with the rest of its winter vegetable season along with celery and that includes ample supplies of leafy greens, herbs and cabbage, the latter of which will move into a St. Patrick’s Day push starting next week. After that, the season rounds out with Texas sweet onions and in May, watermelons and honeydew melons.

For more information:
Jeff Brechler
Little Bear Produce
Tel: +1 (956) 380-0353 

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