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Possible early start for California bell pepper season

California bell pepper growers could be in for an early start to the 2018 Spring season. This is thanks to the warm weather that has set in over southern California. The desert regions around Coachella are typically the first to begin in April. Growers there have said the warm and sunny conditions have been excellent for plant development.

"We have had perfect weather here in the Coachella valley," said John Burton of Peter Rabbit Farms. "For several weeks now, day highs have been in the 80s and nightly lows are in the 50s. This is ideal conditions for bell pepper growth. Typically, the Spring deal begins with the greens in mid April, followed by red peppers in late April, early May. We are predicting that we might see an early start to the season due to the warm and sunny conditions. However, we haven't seen any flowers on the plants yet, which will give us a good indication of whether this prediction will be accurate."

Promising market
After being in a strong market late last year, bell pepper prices have settled as supplies improved. Green bell peppers are still enjoying solid pricing though. For growers in Coachella, they're hoping to enter the market during a period of shorter supply.

"Bell pepper prices are closely related to how many districts are producing at the same time," Burton said. "Right now, reds are seeing an average market due to steady volume out of Mexico. Green peppers are sourced from Florida and they are seeing a good market. The Coachella valley is the first district in California to begin production. We have a 3 - 4 week window before the next region starts. If there are any problems at the end of the Florida season, there is a good chance we will enter a really good market."

Packing in the fields
Freshness is always an important factor in fresh produce production. Burton said that Peter Rabbit Farms concentrates on supplying their bell peppers as fresh as possible. This involves reducing the amount of time the peppers spend between the field and the customer.

"Peter Rabbit Farms enjoys a niche market where we pack our bell peppers directly, right out in the field," Burton noted. "From there, we send them to the cool room as soon as possible. The quickest turnaround is paramount as our operation follows the 'farm-to-fork' approach." 

For more information:
John Burton
Peter Rabbit Farms
Tel: +1 (760) 398-0136

Publication date: 2/8/2018
Author: Dennis M. Rettke



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