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"Demand Exceeds Supply" Defines Organic Veg Deal

April 13, 2023

4 Min Read
"Demand Exceeds Supply" Defines Organic Veg Deal

The rain and flooding in the coastal valleys of California this winter have caused severe availability issues on many crops, with “demand exceeds supply” being a constant refrain during this year's transition from winter to spring production.

“The 2023 Salinas season has slowly commenced over the past few weeks, and as of Monday the 10th, we are loading the majority of our customers here in the Salinas Valley,” said Braga Fresh Family Farms Director of Sales Casey Mills.


Not surprisingly, Mills cited the “abnormally cold and rainy winter we experienced here on the Central Coast” as the reason for the lack of volume.

“The main theme playing out through this year’s spring transition is that crops in the Salinas Valley have been, on average, 3-4 weeks behind their anticipated harvest schedule. In addition, first plantings are showing below-average yields due to adverse growing conditions,” he said.


While most organic commodities are experiencing a strengthening in the market as the winter deals come to an end, Mills said “organic and conventional markets on cauliflower, broccoli, and iceberg are currently in extreme demand-exceeds-supply positions. This trend looks to continue for several weeks at least until growers get through the first few plantings of the season.”

“The main theme playing out through this year’s spring transition is that crops in the Salinas Valley have been, on average, 3-4 weeks behind their anticipated harvest schedule." - Casey Mills

John Amaral, sales manager for The Nunes Company in Salinas, CA, echoed Mills' take when talking about the transition of organic products from the desert to California. “On the organic side, we are finishing up in [Yuma] this week and just getting started with romaine in a very light way in Salinas,” he said. “Next week, we will start with some [cauliflower] and broccoli in [Salinas] and will also start our bunching items—but no big volumes on those yet.”


Looking forward, Amaral said it is going to be a slow but steady climb to get back to what would be considered “normal” Salinas Valley volume. “Every week for the next four weeks, we will have a bit more volume,” he said. “We have the acres to harvest, but the volume is going to be on the light side.”

And weather, Amaral said, is the major culprit. “We’ve had the coldest and wettest February and March on record,” he noted. “It’s just going to take time. ... It’s going to be through the middle of May before we work through this.”


Pricing on organic cauliflower and broccoli is reflective of the lack of supplies, Amaral said, with the FOB market above $50 on both and topping $60 for cauliflower. He added that next week the company’s celery production will be moving to Oxnard, and its lettuce production will shift from Yuma to Huron in the San Joaquin Valley.

“We’ve had the coldest and wettest February and March on record. It’s just going to take time." - John Amaral

Michael Boskovich, who handles organic sales for Boskovich Farms in Oxnard, CA, noted the company is still sourcing the majority of its organic production from Mexico and will continue to do so through April.


“Organic kale is in decent supply with the market in the $18–$20 range,” Boskovich said. “And the organic green onion market was up until this past week, but it has now fallen off a bit, going from $28 to $24.”

Supplies of organic 24-count bunch beets have been very good with excellent quality, trading in the $30-$34 range. Boskovich Farms is also offering organic broccoli, which is trending up price wise, as well as organic celery, which Boskovich reported is one organic item that is currently seeing lower FOB prices.


The company’s organic summer program out of Oxnard will be light as cultural issues, such as pest pressure, make it more difficult to have a robust organic summer program. Boskovich said the company is in the process of planting some organic crops, but water-logged fields have delayed those efforts.

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