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Winter Market Update

Are you wondering why the prices of vegetables have been higher than normal when you go to the grocery store?  Kale prices have been increasing due to high demand as the latest super food and low supplies from the California desert because of recent cold weather.  Supplies of Chard and other bunch greens are tight due to recent freezes so prices will still be high.  One additional thing to remember is that during the winter the entire United States is pulling vegetables from the same area which limits the quantities available. The good news is that supplies of broccoli and lettuce have turned around and are plentiful again so we can expect prices to start going down.   The reality is that it is winter and the weather affects not only the regions where produce can be grown but the quantity and quality of what is available.

Many of our winter crops are grown in the California Imperial Valley desert which starts just south of Palm Springs in the narrow area of Coachella, widens up as it continues through the central valley, home of the Salton Sea, and narrows again as it reaches El Centro in the Mexican valley.  The winters are short, brutal and extreme in the desert but things can turn around fast.  There are challenges from crop to crop during this short winter period.  Almost all the growers in the desert have the same profile for the plants they are growing this time of year.  Weather affects everyone equally resulting in flushes and shortages throughout the season but in particular you will see greater price fluctuations this time of year.

We can expect winter to continue in the desert through mid to late February.  Now that we have passed the shortest day of the year the days are getting longer, bringing more sunlight which is significant for the growth of the vegetables.  Keep checking back with Earl’s for produce updates.

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