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Celery pricing could strengthen by the end of the month

The supply of celery out of California looks good for the next few weeks. “The rains from last winter/spring had an impact mainly on our initial plantings this year in Salinas,” says Casey Mills, director of commodity management for Braga Fresh Family Farms, noting that supply looks similar to last year at this time. “The main issue was caused by the inability to get into wet fields to plant as consistently as needed, resulting in sporadic harvest dates to start the season. In addition to the rain, last winter was extremely cold, which brought on early seeders in plants, drastically affecting yields. After we got through those first blocks, supplies normalized a bit.”

In Salinas, the growing season typically begins around June and runs through mid-December.

As for celery demand, orders have steadily increased in the past few weeks as local programs are winding down, and customers are now placing a majority of their orders from the Salinas Valley.

Pricing moving up
While the price is similar to last year at this time, market pricing is anticipated to increase by the end of the month and through November.

That’s in part due to the supply tightening up at that time. “Yield loss could become an issue in late October/early November due to fusarium disease affecting the overall market supply situation,” says Mills.

Add to that demand increasing as Thanksgiving gets closer. “This year’s Thanksgiving pull should be interesting, and we already have customers looking to lock in volume for that time frame,” Mills says. “At this point, we anticipate the celery market to be very active as demand picks up and supply positions in the overall market tighten.”

Looking ahead, after Salinas wraps up mid-December, production will then transition to the Yuma/Imperial Valley winter growing region. Before then, though, Braga Fresh will exhibit at the upcoming Global Produce & Floral Show in Anaheim, California, October 19-21 at booth #2279.

For more information:
Kori Tuggle
Braga Fresh
[email protected]