As north Florida begins spring volume up to two weeks late, buyers can expect lower red potato supplies to keep demand high and prices above normal.
A series of winter freezes and heavy spring rains damaged the crop and could cut yields by as much as 50 percent on the front end of the red potato deal, said Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc.
L&M began packing red potatoes from its Palatka, Fla., operation May 8, about two weeks later than last season, Lytch said.
He said the weather affected all of L&M's potatoes to some degree.
"Nationally and here in Florida, colored potatoes are tight," Lytch said in mid-May. "Demand is very strong. Demand this year will certainly exceed supply.
"In the last couple of years, we've been pushed up against south and central Florida potatoes as well as the storage crop. But this year, even with the volume being down, we will have the most volume and will remain the most volume compared to California which is starting slow and Arizona whose volume is down."
SOURCE: Doug Ohlemeier, The Packer