Oppy, GR Fresh, and Prime Time Share Pepper Market Update
- by Maggie Mead
CALIFORNIA, MEXICO, CANADA - Peter Piper may have picked a peck of pickled peppers, but he’ll have to share, because peppers are resonating with consumers in a big way right now. It’s grilling season and I can sense some kebabs calling out for colorful veg additions, and pepper growers across the country are primed and ready to meet people’s pep needs. Though the weather has been as erratic as a cat on catnip, several pepper growers have persevered, delivering high-quality veg to consumers ready to eat them.
“This year, the desert weather has been a continuous challenge. Cooler than normal weather and rain affected planting and harvest schedules, followed by warm temperatures which brought the crops on quickly,” Katy Johnson, Marketing, at Prime Time International told me. “Our staggered plantings were not as staggered as they were supposed to be. Up north, we experienced a lot of rain which has created other challenges that we are just beginning to see the extent of.”
Prime Time’s Coachella Valley growing region—which has been producing red bell peppers—saw difficult weather, though the quality of the peppers has been excellent. Higher temperatures aren’t generally kind to bell pepper crops, but by the time the mercury rises to new heights, the harvest will be completed.
The grower will be transitioning from the Coachella Valley region into Bakersfield, Oxnard, and Ventura County to produce green, red, and yellow bell peppers, as well as mini peppers. For Prime Time, the market has remained steady, and the grower is poised to satisfy pepper demand throughout summer and into early fall.
For GR Fresh, demand has outpaced supply this year, primarily due to inclement weather. Though there will likely be higher pepper prices, consumers will be getting a real bang for their buck, as the grower reports exceptional quality—peppers with thick walls, clean calyx, good size, and longer shelf life. GR Fresh’s summer and fall pepper production is currently underway in Parras Valley, Coahuila, and Jalisco, Mexico, where the weather has been warmer, but not enough to affect quality.
“This is our third year growing bell peppers in this region during this time frame and it is exciting to watch the quality and supply grow each year,” Tony Incaviglia, VP of Sales for GR Fresh, commented. “Our production team has done an excellent job in its efforts to support our growth in this commodity.”
Oppy’s pepper program, on the other hand, has remained unaffected by the weather, and its greenhouse-grown peppers from Mexico, California, and Canada remain as good as ever. The marketer is expanding its OrginO organic yellow and orange pepper acreage, and has introduced the Perpetual Vegetable Co. brand from Randhawa Farms. The Randhawas brought 15 new acres of conventional peppers into production in June, for a total of more than 75 acres under glass.
“Quality has been good this season, due to better weather and related growing conditions. The team at Randhawa Farms also added a new state-of-the art cooler late last year, which enables greater efficiencies and assures even better quality,” Aaron Quon, Executive Director of Oppy’s greenhouse and vegetable categories, said.
Oppy’s British Columbia greenhouse pepper season began in March, while California production runs October through August under the SunSelect Outrageously Fresh label. The marketer will offer a new crop of Divemex branded Mexican peppers beginning in August.
With red, orange, yellow, and green bells headed to market, this summer is shaping up to be a colorful one—full of crunch and taste, and kebabs as far as the eye can see.
For more fruit and veg market updates, keep reading AndNowUKnow.