Church Brothers Farms' Jason Lathos Discusses This Season's Broccoli Crop
- by Geneva Hutcheson
SALINAS, CA - As sure as tulips rising with the frost melt in spring, when the seasons turn, and the air develops a lackadaisical quality, my mama chops up some broccoli, grapes, and celery for a spring salad. And, with the sunny weather that’s graced the West Coast these past few weeks, I’ve got little green inflorescences on my mind.
I spoke with Jason Lathos, Manager of Commodities for Church Brothers Farms, to find out how the growers' Salinas broccoli is fairing, what the market looks like, and how retailers can promote the crop this season.
“Everyone just made the transition from Yuma back to Salinas,” Jason explains. “Broccoli was one of the first items that we started harvesting up here—actually, we started harvesting it a couple weeks earlier than normal due to the weather.”
Jason tells me that due to the nice winter, everything has been ahead of schedule. The oscillating temperature has made volume less steady but has not resulted in any quality issues. He reports that the market has been relatively normal and that he expects it to stay that way, although, with Mother’s Day—foodservice growers’ second biggest holiday after Valentine’s Day—there may be an increase in demand.
“I think we’re going to have increased demand as we get toward the end of April. There is always a five or ten percent uptick as the East Coast weather starts getting better and you get more into spring conditions,” Jason says. “Taking mom out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner for Mother’s Day does impact demand on our side. I think supplies are fairly steady. I see the market staying where it’s at; maybe getting a little bit higher as the increase in demand occurs.”
Jason hesitates to say anything with certitude: one of the great things about this industry, he tells me is that it changes every week.
“I’m always looking to promote and drive sales. It’s a good crop; it’s a healthy crop. For Mother’s Day if you’re going to be cooking at home for mom, cook her some broccoli,” Jason tells me.
Maybe this year, I’ll take Jason’s advice and try my hand at my mother’s spring salad recipe. For more on market and crop conditions across the industry, keep reading AndNowUKnow.