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US cauliflower suppliers hope to stabilize the market
“We had a hard cold snap in Florida right after New Year’s and it warmed back up just to get cold again this week so trying to get back up to normal volumes down here,” says Tara Smith-Vighetti of Presque Isle, ME-based Smith Packing Inc. “We’re still in a bit of a lull but hoping things are going to be picking back up by the end of the week. We are covering any shortages from the West at the moment to cover commitments until we resume normal production levels.”
At the same time, demand, which looked strong before the holidays, also lagged somewhat recently. “In the last week or so we’ve seen a lull in demand, at least at the retail level from the east coast,” says Smith-Vighetti. “Some of the Northeastern retailers had been backed up from all the snow. Things seem to be coming back into a normal pattern from a demand standpoint.”
Smith-Vighetti does warn that the market isn’t likely to see the demand-supply patterns cauliflower saw in 2017 which reached extreme highs in pricing. “I just don’t think we’re having the same weather issues we had in the western production regions that we had last year that caused the main hang ups in supply,” she notes.
That said, there was some pressure at the end of December on the East. “There’s not a lot going on in cauliflower in the East yet--not enough to impact the market in a huge way. Western supply volumes are still the major driver,” she says, adding that Smith has increased its production in Florida and other markets to meet that higher Eastern demand. “We’re doing more and more in the Southeast every year because the commodity has strengthened in the past few years and demand continues to increase,” she says.
Looking ahead, Smith-Vighetti anticipates the Florida supply to stabilize and the demand doing so as well.
For more information:
Smith Packing, Inc.
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