Green Beans from the Willamette Valley in Oregon are currently being processed and of course representatives from Noon International were on scene to learn as much as possible about the process. A tremendous effort goes into getting the beans from the field, through production, and into the storage freezer within four hours of harvest. While no pictures were allowed inside the factory, Oregon suppliers were generous enough to allow a few photos of the raw product before processing so that customers could see for themselves the consistent high quality beans.
Our Northwest Crops: Frozen Vegetables
Peas: Harvest on the East and West sides of Washington State is complete. Most suppliers were finishing up their harvest when a heat wave hit Washington State however crops were not impacted. Eastern Washington growers had the good fortune of finishing harvest before the heat. A record high temperature was set in Seattle but the few suppliers in Western Washington who were still harvesting in hot sun saw little impact on their crops and credited their success to high moisture levels in the soil. Some yellowing of pea plants did occur, but not as much as growers feared when faced with record high temperatures. Growers received a lucky break with the weather and consumers can expect Grade A peas available for their dinner plates.
Green Beans: By all accounts green beans are at budget yields and quality is very good with predicted large volumes of grade A beans continuing to be processed. The heat wave in Western Washington did not affect green beans, which do not mind hot weather for short periods of time. It is generally always hot in Eastern Washington and the high grade A trend continues there as well. Willamette Valley green bean processors are in full production making whole green beans, cut green beans, and french style green beans. If the heat persists growers can expect some bunch ripening to occur in early September, but growers plan for this and harvest should continue without impediment.
Corn: The current situation is looking good for Columbia Basin supersweet corn growers. Japanese quality supersweet corn harvest started on July 6 and harvest will continue into the fall. Due to excellent corn weather quality and yield are currently good and are predicted to remain as such. Columbia Basin corn has seen some very hot temperatures but it is predicted to cool down a little in mid August. Temperatures in the mid-western United States, a competing corn region, have been cooler than average and corn ideally likes it hot. Considering the corn season goes until the fall there is still plenty of time for weather to develop—hopefully in the favor of Columbia Basin growers and mid-western growers alike.
Carrot: Baby whole carrots continue to be harvested with quality and yield looking good since harvest began in mid-July. Baby whole carrot harvest and production will continue until the end of August and will then give way to sliced carrot production probably near the start of September. As all carrot varieties grow underground, the recent heat wave has had little negative effect and production has been uninterrupted.
Potato: Weeks over 100° F can encourage sugar production rather than starch production in potatoes which do not have a chance to rest at nighttime in cooler temperatures. If the nights are hot it can also leave potatoes with bumpy skin and affect the taste. At this point in the harvest none of these situations are occurring and quality is good. Currently Shepody potatoes are being harvested and will continue until September. Yield is average and this trend is expected to continue through Ranger Russet and Russet Burbank potato harvest later in the summer.
Blueberries: Japanese quality Reka blueberry harvest started August 5 and initial first pick Reka quality is excellent. Blueberries in Washington State and Oregon did not escape the heat completely unharmed and some wrinkling and small mature berry size was observed. Predicted cooler mid-August temperatures should allow berry bushes a chance to produce more quality berries than in the heat. Blueberry pricing is lower than blueberry pricing in 2008, but quality could be a concern if intense heat returns or there is too much rain all at once. HardyBlue, BlueCrop, and BlueJay berry harvest will start in Washington State sometime in mid-August with 2nd pick Duke and Reka harvest tentatively beginning around the same time.
Raspberries: It indeed became too hot for frozen raspberry harvest and processing to continue past the first of August, but juice stock raspberry harvest was continuing as of August 6th in Washington State. Quality frozen raspberries were harvested in July and the high quality of the frozen raspberries harvested created a high demand but short supply situation.
Our Mexican and Guatemalan Crops: Frozen Vegetables
Broccoli/Mexico: No change in Mexican broccoli harvest or production is expected until September. Seasonal rain halts broccoli harvest due to crop rot. For perspective, a reported monthly rain average for Mexican broccoli growing areas from July to September is 3.64 inches of rain per month compared to .24 inches of rain per month from December until Februrary. It will be about a month before broccoli harvest resumes in Mexico at normal levels.
Cauliflower/Mexico: Cauliflower production slowed down but is not halted by seasonal rain. Yellowing due to wet weather has been observed but overall cauliflower crops are much less affected by rain and small quantity harvest still continues until large scale harvest starts up again in September.
Broccoli/Guatemala: Light rain fell in the early part of August but broccoli production continues. The quality of the broccoli currently being harvested is excellent and Guatemalan broccoli processors are running their factories at peak capacity.
Did you know…
Do you realize that our weather is becoming unstable due to global warming? Usually Seattle experiences rain with not much snow in the winter. Last year it constantly snowed in Seattle with extreme cold. Contrary to the winter, this summer has been hot with a lot of sunshine. Seattle reported a record high of 102° F (38.9° C) on July 29, 2009. Can you believe our Seattle office was hotter than our California office?