Celery Shippers Coming Off High Market; Duda, Ocean Mist, and Church Bros. Discuss
CALIFORNIA – Celery growers are finally starting to see some reprieve after Mother Nature had dealt a bad hand across multiple growing regions in previous months. Prices are now starting to calm down bit by bit each week, and with an uptick in supplies for some shippers, growers say it’s good news for buyers.
Rick Alcocer, Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ Senior Vice President of Fresh Sales, tells me that demand for celery has exceeded available supply overall to date. Moving forward, however, he says that we will see a more stable relationship in supply meeting demand and prices settling in the mid-teens.
“Some shippers have returned to normal volume, while those who pushed their crews to harvest as much celery as possible to match demand are still ahead of schedule and light on volume compared to normal,” said Alcocer. “It may take three to four more weeks for some growers/shippers to finally catch up to normal planned harvest.”
This is the second consecutive week of warm temperatures on the west coast, which is helping the plants grow with some sort of normalcy and consistency. Across the board, growers say that quality is meeting expectations.
Castroville, California-based Ocean Mist Farms is currently shipping product out of Coachella and will later transition to Oxnard from March till the first week of June. John Chobanian, Ocean Mist’s Commodity Account Manager, tells me that demand is currently starting to pick back up again after hard freezes in the mid-west and east coast tempered the market.
“Demand has gotten better with the improvement in weather conditions and with prices having adjusted down. Product quality has been exceptional,” said Chobanian. “Even though it has eased up some recently, the market is very strong and has been for quite some time. There does not seem to be an excess of product by any means, so prices should stay relatively strong the next couple weeks.”
Each growing area had a number of weather-related challenges to deal with during the season. Florida, Santa Maria, and Oxnard each had to deal with excessive rain, while Mexico and Yuma was affected by cold weather. That’s a thing of the past though, as Church Brothers’ Commodity Manager, Jason Lathos, explains to me.
“Supplies from all areas look to be in full production,” he says. “With the increase in supplies and overall quality, celery is forecasted to be a great product to promote for the next few weeks.”
As celery shippers start to come off one of the highest and longest celery markets in history, things look to be turning back around slowly but surely. For more updates on the celery market, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.