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High supplies available in the US
"In Asian cultures, daikon is a staple"
“Usually supply is pretty steady and right now there’s more available because last year at this time it was really hot,” says Joseph Krumpelman of Valley Specialty Produce in Fresno, Ca. “So everybody planted it. I would estimate there’s 50 percent more now than there was last year at this time.”
That said, daikon is an in-demand vegetable akin to a winter radish. “It’s a main staple and all kinds of different Asian cultures eat it. They always need it—it’s a staple like lettuce,” says Krumpelman, who along with supplying product locally ships largely on the west coast to areas such as Vancouver and Texas, but also as far midwest as Minnesota and to Montreal. In some Asian marketplaces, including Indian where it’s sold as “Daikon with Leaf” and both the radish and leaves are used in dishes, the commodity is always on supply. “But if you go to American stores and look at daikon, it’s usually some ugly product and it looks like it’s been there forever and there are maybe five to six pieces there,” says Krumpelman, noting it’s a big-volume item.
In fact, it’s such a staple that it’s something Krumpelman needs to have on hand regardless. “I have to provide my customers with it. Right now I’m just covering my costs but we have to keep selling it,” he says.
While domestically, markets such as Texas compete with supplying daikon, so do imports from Mexico. “They ship pretty much year round and it’s our biggest competitor. It’s the biggest factor affecting US produce because their labor costs are so low,” says Krumpelman. “But they look at the markets too and sometimes if they feel there’ll be a good market for an item, they’ll plant heavy. So like right now, there’s not much room for anybody to make money.”
So with such an influx of daikon in the market, prices are considerably softer than last year. “Last year it jumped up to $20/box and right now we are at $7/box,” he says.
For more information:
Valley Specialty Produce
Tel: +1 (559) 308-4671
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