(Jan. 2) Cold weather has slowed production of broccoli and cauliflower in Arizona and California, strengthening markets, grower-shippers say.

But an expected warm-up in January should bring volumes back to normal, they said.

“Down in the desert we’ve had a couple of weeks of cool temperatures, with frost almost every night,” Mark McBride, sales office manager for Coastline Produce, Salinas, Calif., said Dec. 28. “It looks like temperatures will moderate in the upcoming week.”

With that moderation in climate, shipments should catch up to their normal pace for this time of year, he predicted.

But at the end of December, markets were still very strong for cauliflower and strong for broccoli, Doug Classen, sales manager for the Salinas, Calif.-based Nunes Co. Inc., said Dec. 28.

“As a general rule in the industry, cauliflower supplies are very light,” he said. “Broccoli supplies are moderate, maybe a bit below normal.”

Lower cauliflower acreage in the desert also played a role in strengthening December markets, Classen said.

On Jan. 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices for cartons of film-wrapped white cauliflower at $20.35-22.45 for 12s and $16.45-20.45 for 9s out of California’s Imperial and Coachella valleys. Out of California’s Santa Maria-Guadalupe-Oceano-Lumpoc growing region, cartons of film-wrapped 12s brought $18-18.75.

For broccoli, cartons of bunched 14s were $10.35-11.45, 18s were $10.85-11.95 and 20-pound boxes of loose crown cut were $14.45-16.45 out of California’s Imperial, Coachella and Palo Verde valleys.

Those prices could stay at similar levels into the second week of January, Drew Barsoom, broccoli and cauliflower program manager for Tanimura & Antle Inc., Salinas, said Dec. 28.

Cold mornings in the desert the second half of December meant late starts for harvesting crews, Barsoom said. The cold had not, however, affected quality or sizing, he said. Quality was good and sizing normal, he said.