(July 30) LANCASTER, Calif. — The Bakersfield carrot deal is winding down, but despite Michigan and eastern Canada harvests starting in August, shipments of California carrots will remain steady through the summer.

“It slows movement to the East, but not that much,” said Mike Anspach, vice president of sales for Grimmway Enterprises Inc., Bakersfield.

Grimmway finished its Bakersfield production in late July, moving to cooler areas near the coast in Cuyama and mountains in Lancaster. The company returns to Bakersfield around Thanksgiving.

Growers in California and Washington said they don’t see any hitches in volumes or quality through the summer.

“Everything looks good, and yields have been good. Quality has been outstanding,” said Jeff Janosky, sales manager of Prosser, Wash.-based Mercer Ranch, which grows carrots in Holtville from December to June.

“The weather has been perfect for it,” Janosky said.

John Burton, sales manager at Peter Rabbit Farms, Coachella, said demand is good on cello packs, with cartons of 48 bags ranging from $8.85-9.85. The California jumbo market was $8.85 for 50-pound sacks, Anspach said.

As of July 29, Michigan shipments were too light to establish a market, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the department reported shippers received $9 for cartons of 48 1-pound film bags and 24 2-pound film bags, and $12.75 for 50-pound sacks of loose jumbos in mid-August 2002.

At the same time last year, California f.o.b.s were reported at $9.85 for sacks of 1-pound film bags and $8.85-9.85 for 50-pound sacks of jumbos.

“I would think demand will generally fall down on cellos in the first two weeks of August, with eastern Canada producing,” Burton said. “Baby carrots are steady as she goes. They continue to perform great.”

Other shippers agreed with Burton, that the one-pound baby carrot pack is the “workhorse” of the industry.

“Baby peeled are the driver, and most of our customers want a year-round, California baby peeled carrot,” Anspach said. “The bunched and cellos will slow down a little bit more during the summer, but the babies are pretty steady throughout the year.”