(April 12) Broccoli and cauliflower grower-shippers could have used a little more time in Yuma, Ariz., this year.

Most grower-shippers finished up the Arizona winter deal in the first week of April. They said they hoped for sunnier skies in Salinas, Calif.

Salinas is the primary shipper of broccoli and cauliflower until Huron, Calif., picks up some volume in October and Yuma and the Imperial Valley start up again in November for the winter deal.

Weather conditions in California have been poor, said Will Feliz, vice president of agriculture operations for River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC, Salinas.

Most in the deal are having trouble with muddy fields, said Peter Romero, sales and marketing representative for Steinbeck Country Produce Inc., Salinas.

“A couple of days last week we couldn’t even get in at all,” Romero said April 10. “It’s day to day. There’s some instances of fields flooding up and down the valley.”

Feliz estimated broccoli and cauliflower yields were down about 5% to 10% for the industry.

Shorter supplies have prices higher than they have been in the past couple of months, said Joe Prandini, general manager of and partner in Santa Maria, Calif.-based Bonipak Produce Co.

“Right now, we’re going through a little spurt where the market is a little stronger for both broccoli and cauliflower, and we would hope to be able to stay up for a while,” Prandini said April 7.

Feliz said broccoli and cauliflower were selling in the double digits, which is almost double the price reported two months ago.

On Feb. 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported bunched cartons of size 14 broccoli at $4.35-4.75, and film-wrapped cartons of size 12 cauliflower at $5.35-6.45.

On April 10, the USDA reported cartons of bunched 14s mostly $9.35-10.45, 18s mostly $9.85-10.95 and 20-pound cartons of loose crown cut mostly $12.35-13.45 out of Salinas-Watsonville, Calif. Out of Santa Maria, broccoli brought $8-10 for bunched 14s, $8.50-10.50 for 18s and $10-11 for 20-pound loose crown cut.

For cauliflower out of Salinas-Watsonville and Santa Maria, cartons of filmwrapped 12s brought mostly $18-20.45 and 9s and 16s brought $17.25-18.50.

Last year’s mid-April markets also were in the double digit because of rain in late December and January, grower-shippers said. USDA prices for broccoli were $12-14 for bunched 14s and cauliflower was $12-14 for film-wrapped 12s.

Grower-shippers said continuing rain isn’t just slowing the harvest. Crews also have not been able to keep planting on schedule.

“We’ll probably see gaps where we will have very little three months from now or so because we haven’t been able to get in and plant,” Prandini said.