Herb growers keep eye on California heat
While supplies of herbs are good right now, growers are waiting to see if the California heat has any detrimental affect on supplies.
“Generally supply is okay. The extra heat in some areas of California might put a little stress on some crops like cilantro and dill. It hasn’t happened yet but it could,” says Camilo Penalosa of Infinite Herbs in Miami, Fl. “It depends on how the weather continues. If the heat wave continues, there might be some reductions from the stress on supply. If not, it’ll be okay.”
Supplies, which are hailing right now from the Salinas and Oxnard, Ca. regions, have been stable. Meanwhile competing herbs are coming in from regions such as New Jersey, Ohio and Canada, though parts of the latter have also undergone heat wave conditions recently.
Changes in demand
And while demand is also good, there is a slight shift in the herbs that are on demand during this time of year. “Some herbs have reduced demand like tarragon and sage. They’re herbs that are strong and mainly used in ovens and people use their ovens less in the summer,” says Penalosa. “But other herbs like cilantro, dill and parsley are used more in fresh products.”
At the same time, demand shifts as well in foodservice compared to retail. “Local production of herbs reduces supermarket demand but foodservice demand also increases since more people go out to eat and also travel,” he says, adding that local production though isn’t always cheaper since production costs are higher due to labor transportation.
This puts pricing relatively close to what was seen last year at this time, though some weeks cilantro particularly has seen some significant spikes in pricing, says Penalosa, who also notes that Infinite is opening a new packing operation in Vineland, NJ in early August.
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Publication date: 7/20/2018
Author: Astrid van den Broek