Midwestern vegetable grower-shippers, not hit as hard by soaring temperatures, are filling gaps created by problems on the more severely affected East Coast this summer.
Scott Michael, president of Urbana, Ohio-based Michael Farms Inc., said his company has irrigated this year more than it has in several years, adding that quality and yields in mid-July were good.
“It’s been a little warm, but we’ve only exceeded 90 two or three times,” Michael said. “We had some beans a couple of weeks ago that were off, but now they’re OK. We’re in pretty good shape.”
Heat has slowed the growth of Michael Farms’ cabbage, but Michael said his customers like small cabbage.
Weather also hasn’t been much of a problem for Willard, Ohio-based Buurma Farms Inc., said Loren Buurma, the company’s co-owner.
Temperatures in growing areas have been in the 90s much more than last year, but they’ve been in the low 90s, Buurma said. And where crops have been slowed in Ohio, the company’s Michigan growing operation has been able to pick up the slack, he said.
Buurma Farms began shipping corn and celery in mid-July, with carrots expected to start the week of July 26 and peppers ramping up heading into August.
“We should be hitting on all cylinders next week,” Buurma said July 20.
Heavy rains in June have taken more of a toll on vegetables shipped by Hudsonville, Mich.-based Miedema Produce Inc. than the heat has, said Todd Miedema, director of marketing.
“For some onion growers, yields could be down quite a bit, and celery growers are still struggling with quality issues,” he said.
Because of rain damage, celery yields will likely be down and more diverted to processing markets through August, Miedema said.
By the week of July 19, radish shipments were returning to normal after weeks of rain-damaged product, he said.
Heading into the season, Michael expected sluggish demand because of big quantities of spring vegetables out of the south.
As of July 20, however, that hasn’t been the case, he said. Michael said some customers who source from the Midwest and the East Coast have been pulling more from the Midwest because of the heat-related growing problems in the east.
Buurma Farms has shipped more cucumbers, zucchini, squash, parsley, cilantro and other vegetables east this summer because of the East Coast heat wave, Buurma said.
Miedema reported strong midsummer demand, but said it didn’t seem to be any heavier than usual because of increased demand from the East Coast.