Water and weather affect Californian & Mexican bell peppers

“We grow bell peppers 365 days of the year in seven locations in California and Mexico,” said Mike Aiton of Prime Time Produce. This means, that despite the long-standing drought plaguing California, this grower has to address several challenges to achieve its goal of harvesting enough bell peppers to satisfy consumers’ demand for this vegetable.

“We have to water daily to keep the pepper flowers growing,” Aiton said. “When it’s hot, as it has been this past summer, we have to give the plants more water. Right now, we’re harvesting our bell peppers on the coastal areas—in Ventura and Orange counties. Further inland, the peppers are still growing and not yet ready for harvesting.”

The drought means that Prime Time has had to get creative as it works to ensure a sufficient supply of water for its plants. “The need for water varies by growing region,” pointed out Aiton. “We have three resources available: wells, water rights or buying water. Water is more expensive this year than it was last year, and it was more expensive last year than the year before.

“We rely on the ‘three Ws.’ Those are workers, weather and water, and all three give us challenges all the time. With this drought, weather and water are always problematic,” Aiton said. 

“This is a difficult time of the year. Peppers are available in 25 other states, which means there’s plenty of product available. Prices are weak. It’s the low point of the year for us in September and October. As the killing frost moves in, that will force the market back up,” Aiton predicted.

Because Prime Time has farms located in several areas, it has been able to continue growing and harvesting conventional, hothouse and organic peppers to meet consumer demand.

For more information:
Mike Aiton
Prime Time Produce
+1 760-399-4278

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