The beet season in Oregon is about to wrap up for the year. Many growers have already finished while others are harvesting the last of their crop. For some in Oregon, it seems the season can't finish soon enough as they have reported a terrible market, with prices very low all season long.
"Oregon's beet season began back in July and normally finishes by the end of the year," shared Jason Montecucco of Montecucco Farms in Canby. "We are just picking the last of the beets now. This year has seen a massive oversupply, just far too many beets for the market to handle. This has resulted in very low prices all season long. In fact, these have been the worst prices I have ever seen, especially for red beets."
Pressure from both sides of the border
According to Montecucco, the oversupply issue has been across North America, with most growing regions producing a bumper crop. Mexico and Canada have been sending heavy volumes into the United States, he said, with Mexico in particular supplying some very cheap beets.
"There was a lot of supply coming in from Mexico and it was all very cheap - cheaper than our cost. I don't know how they did it because it seems as though it was not much more than cost for them, despite the lower costs they have in general. Additionally, American buyers are eager to buy Mexican produce. Canada has also seemingly been giving beets away. Canada is very protective of their produce and therefore do not buy as much from the US or Mexico. It has all resulted in American farmers selling their produce at very low prices."
Colored varieties still a niche
Red beets are the most common beet variety in the US, seeing relatively steady demand and being grown in the most volume. Other beet varieties, such as yellow and candystripe, are also grown in reasonable amounts. But these have not experienced any great demand, with growers noting that they remain a niche crop.
"At Montecucco Farms, we do produce the colored beet varieties but not in any great volume," Montecucco said. "They remain a specialty item and have a small market. It also means pricing can be more volatile on them. Sometimes, you can't get rid of them, other times everyone seems to want them."
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