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Pickle trends help grow dill pickle cucumber consumption

Hank Scott is getting a lot of calls already about the upcoming dill pickle cucumber season. "That means that there's not much supply out there," says Scott of Long & Scott Farms, noting that Mexico has had some weather issues over the winter season, impacting its supply. "So it sounds like we're going into the season in a good position."

Long & Scott's Florida crop looks good right now despite recent windburn from cold winds. "It's been really windy in the last two or three days, and I think it's going to be windy again tomorrow and the next day. Hopefully, it's a warmer wind that won't damage them so much," he says. "They'll grow out of it, but it just puts a bit of stress on them."

The crop looks to be running on time this season, and harvest is anticipated to start around April 10th. In a smoothly running season, it runs into the first week of June–once pickle cucumbers in regions north of Florida come in, it loses its freight advantage.

Fresh vs. processing
While those calls are indicative of a potentially strong season, Scott says most of the calls are coming from processors. "That's a good thing, but I'm hoping the fresh market's dollars are good and high. That's where we make the money, on the fresh market," he says, noting its crop is generally split fairly evenly between fresh and processing markets.

Scott believes pickle consumption could be up due to smaller "mom and pop" and boutique-type pickle processing companies. "Some big food chains are also starting to make their pickles too," he says, noting some food trends also help pickle consumption–most recently, fried chicken sandwiches on menus which came complete with pickle chips.

As for pricing, Scott anticipates it should be similar to last year though it may be stronger at the start due to a shortage in available supply on the market. "That may level out once everybody gets going," he says.

For more information:
Hank Scott
Long & Scott Farms
[email protected]