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Fresh crop of cabbage Photo by: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Cabbage prices to rocket and supplies to be hit for St. Patrick’s Day

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Fresh crop of cabbage Photo by: Getty Images/iStockphoto

St. Patrick’s Day revelers are set to be hit by a cabbage shortage and escalating prices ahead of the annual festivities.

The recent cold snap has driven prices up and hit supplies of the necessary ingredient for the traditional bacon and cabbage dinner.

Growers and distributors have warned customers to expect limited supplies of cabbage and high prices for St. Patrick’s Day, according to a report from the trade organ ThePacker.com.

Calvert Cullen, president of Northampton Growers Produce Sales in Cheriton, VA said, “I think the market will stay high like it is now – some feel it could get stronger.”

Mike Owens, a salesman for Florida based Pioneer Growers Co-op, told the site he also expects robust supply-driven demand heading into the holiday.

Owens said, “There was a lot of weather on some crops. We’re expecting the price to be higher than normal.

“We’re looking forward to prices in the $12-14 range. That’s considerably higher than typical St. Pat’s prices.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported a price of $12 for 50-pound cartons of medium round green cabbage from Florida. That’s up from $6.50-7 last year at the same time.

Southern Florida growers are expected to produce normal, high-quality crops, but the Northern Florida crop was hit by freezes according to Cullen. He also remarked that the Texas crop could be down 30% thanks to Mother Nature.

But the cold weather actually helped growers in South Florida according to Cullen. He added, “It tightened the heads up a bit. We should have good weight in boxes, and the quality should be excellent.

“The cold set us back a bit, but I think we’re catching up. Everything’s looking good right now.”

Owens is also expecting good quality for the holiday with plenty of fancy grade product availability.

He said, “It should be very nice. We’re expecting 55 to 60 pounds per box for a 16, 18 count.”

Red potato growers in the Red River Valley are back on track and looking forward to a strong St. Patrick’s Day after a slow beginning to the season, exacerbated by truck shortages says the report. Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director for Northern Plains Potato Growers, East Grand Forks, Minn, predicted a busy season.

Kreis said, “Our shippers are very busy. After a late start this fall, volume has been very good.

“Red potatoes traditionally get a big push from retailers for the holiday.”

The USDA has reported a price of $10.25 for 105-pound film bags of size A reds from the Red River Valley, up from $6.50-8 last year at the s

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