Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

Most promotable volume in mid-January

US: Florida eggplant starts a month late

Hurricane Irma caused a complete loss for eggplant farmers in the southern part of Florida. They’re just getting started now, a month late. Volume isn’t expected until closer to the Christmas holiday. 

External sourcing within Florida
Order fulfillment issues were somewhat of a concern, but Oakes Farms was able to work with outside growers to source eggplants to service their customers. “The demand is definitely there for the long term,” says Steve Veneziano, VP of sales and operations. “Everybody’s calling and looking for our products. With our new grower-partnerships as we go up and down the state of Florida we’ve been able to fulfill these commitments with the chain stores.” 

Low yields at the start, then improving
He says yields will be a little bit light for the front part of the crop, but at the end of the season he’s expecting it to be very, very good. Southern Florida’s eggplant will wrap up around May 15, then transition into northern Florida, Georgia, Alabama, New Jersey and circle back to southern Florida for the year-round program.

New eggplant varieties
Veneziano is excited about growing some new varieties of eggplants this year – about 11 different ones. “We were just over in Spain with our seed supplier and breeder and they’ve been working on a specific eggplant for us. Our first trial will be harvesting in early March. We’re very excited about that.” The eggplant will be a darker color and have a nice sheen to it. 

Prices double over last year
Prices right now are almost double right now of what they were last year. For the rest of the season, Veneziano says it’s hard to say where they’ll go. “There’s product growing in Mexico; I expect it to be a higher priced market until the first of the year and then it will level off a bit with some more promotable opportunities in mid January for the retailers.”

Field-grown Dominican eggplant in Immakolee, Fla.

New grower/partners
Oakes Farming began five years ago in one location with only 56 acres, now currently farming just over 3,000 acres of their own crop in South Florida. They’ve grown considerably through the addition of grower/partners who grow the same varieties using the same packing crews harvesting with the same quality and grading done in Florida. Veneziano has set a steadier paced goal for growth in 2018 by 18-20 per cent per year under the umbrella of nearly 80 commodities and 105 varieties of products. 

Heavy Canadian distribution
More partners equaled more distribution. “It has allowed us to continue to branch across the country. Almost 50 per cent of our business is Canadian export. So having partners to be able to keep up with the demand to Canada has been absolutely essential.”

For more information:
Steve Veneziano
Oakes Farms
Ph: 239-658-0924

Publication date: 11/28/2017



Other news in this sector:

1/18/2018 Storm in the Netherlands: Gakon becomes "On Projects"
1/18/2018 Uzbekistan: Fruit and veg export growth in 2017
1/18/2018 Mexico: Baja squash production helping to alleviate short supply
1/18/2018 Germany: Substantial price increases for Spanish imported vegetables
1/18/2018 China: Price of tomatoes in Shandong has halved
1/18/2018 Falling temperatures, hard freezes in Texas and Mexico
1/17/2018 Poland: "People are willing to pay more for specialties"
1/17/2018 Singapore fruit & vegetable prices stable - for now
1/17/2018 Exceptionally high US freight rates set to ease
1/17/2018 Greatest temperature variations in the USA
1/17/2018 US: Characterization of and factors associated with berry consumption
1/17/2018 US cauliflower suppliers hope to stabilize the market
1/17/2018 Iran: Exporting tomatoes to Qatar
1/17/2018 Belgium: Turnover at Coöperatie Hoogstraten 6.4% higher than last year
1/17/2018 Croatia - the next big player in vegetable production?
1/17/2018 Italy: Fennel and courgette prices not good
1/17/2018 Trump promises farmers that he will improve NAFTA
1/17/2018 Pay increase for agricultural workers in Northern Ireland
1/16/2018 Netherlands ships more peppers to the UK
1/16/2018 NL: Catering discovers fruit and vegetables, purchasing rose by 13%