Northern Florida eggplant growers are struggling with depressed pricing thanks to strong early yields and a longer growing season for Georgia-based competition.

Diamond T Farms, Inc., based out of Plant City, Florida, began their harvest in late October. But according to Gary Courson, that makes Diamond T an outlier among Florida eggplant growers. “We had a problem with the plant house, so we actually got our products out two weeks late,” Courson explains. In contrast, many of Courson’s competitors got a jump on the growing season and began harvesting crops two to four weeks earlier than typical. “There’s plenty of supply,” Courson says.

Courson attributes the early, stronger yields he’s seeing to sustained warmer temperatures. To complicate matters, growers in Georgia are still harvesting eggplants, further flooding the market. According to Courson, Georgia normally suffers a cold snap by this time of year, which kills leaves and exposes crops to sun scalding. That hasn’t happened this season. “It’s been one of those rare years,” he notes.

For Diamond T Farms, that means much lower prices than typical. Courson mentions that he’s “finally” seen prices on 1 1/9 bushels and cartons of classic eggplant creep above $8.00. “Normally you’re up to $10.00 or $12.00 at this time of year.”

Courson adds that he doesn’t expect the market to normalize before the end of his growing season, which concludes at the end of November. “It’s probably going to be a rough ride through our season.”

For more information:
Gary Courson
Diamond T Farms, Inc.
Tel: (+1) 813-752-5500