Rick Alcocer, Ryan Kelly, and Russ Widerburg Weigh in on the Celery Market
UNITED STATES - The holidays and the 2014 NFL season may be over, but celery growers still have promotable volumes available for the foreseeable future.
Good production out of California, Mexico, Florida, and Arizona, as well as increased acreage for some companies has contributed to the increase in yield this season. Though the West Coast port slowdown impacted their export business, celery growers are optimistic that the market will start picking back up now that a labor agreement has been reached.
Slightly more volume is being held in shipper’s coolers than normal this time of year. Warmer than normal temperatures in Oxnard, CA have forced celery to mature sooner than planned, in some cases more than three weeks ahead of the anticipated harvest date. As a result, most celery shippers in Oxnard had to reach ahead during the holiday period.
“There is not an abundance of celery in the fields for the duration of the Oxnard season, so FOB prices should creep back up again to a higher level by April,” Rick Alcocer, Senior VP of Fresh Vegetable Sales at Duda Farm Fresh Foods, tells me. “Ice and snow throughout the upper Midwest and Northeast has temporarily slowed demand, but that will change once these areas thaw out.”
Ocean Mist’s Grower Manager, Ryan Kelly, noted that a lot of the celery being harvested now is between 8 – 15 days ahead of the projected harvest date, leading to much more volume on the market.
“Volume has greatly exceeded our expectations – at least 10 – 15% higher than average,” said Kelly. “Timely rains and ideal weather conditions have made yield that much better.”
Increased acreage out of Florida and Arizona has greatly contributed to production numbers as well. Russ Widerburg, Boskovich Farms’ Sales Manager, said, “Volume is above normal because there’s been a lot more production out of Florida and Arizona. Even though yields are a little above normal, demand on the east coast is slower than average because of all the snow and cold weather. We’re hoping that demand and consumption will start to pick back up heading into spring.”
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for further updates on the celery season.