Warmer weather bringing on Salinas veg
Production challenges have snarled at Salinas vegetable growers for much of 2023.
Rain, floods, and cold then too-chilly cloudy weather have been consistent. Impatiens necrotic spot virus – INSV – a daunting lettuce pest in recent years, may now raise its ugly head as warm weather otherwise boosts Salinas production.
The most recent chilly, cloudy weather cleared in mid-June, which is expediting heightened Salinas vegetable productivity, according to Chris Reade, vice president of the Salinas-based sales and marketing agency, Produce West.
On June 23, he tells FreshFruitPortal.com: “In the last three or four days, the market has been more active.” Slowdowns in production were all weather related. “We had all the rains, and then below average weather for the last month, with it overcast and in the low 60s and low 70s. Because of rains and subsequent floods, planting was slow, and we were two weeks behind.
While there has been some production, sizing is smaller.”
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Reade says broccoli prices have been in the mid-teens. Salinas lettuce is close to $20, as Oxnard celery production finished last week. Given the weather, Salinas celery has a lot of seeders and yields are down.
“Celery today touched $50 and $60 today. That has been up and down. Yields are off.”
In Salinas, INSV has been a problem for the last three years; especially the last two, Reade indicates. “This is not much of a problem so far this year, but it may be a problem when it warms up. The virus sucks the life out of plants. In Santa Maria they’re finding a little INSV now. That’s not a good sign if they have warmer weather.”
Reade adds that “Some seed companies are producing varieties with INSV resistance,” which will greatly benefit the industry.
Other good news, Reade says, is that in Salinas, “Labor supplies are ok.”