NEW ENGLAND FRUITS AND VEGETABLE REPORT

September 9, 2014

(CONCORD, NH) ― We are pleased to present the New England Fruits and Vegetables Report for crops produced in 2013. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), New England Field Office collects, analyzes, and estimates fruit and vegetable prices and yields at the request of USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Funding was provided by the State Departments of Agriculture in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This data series provides a valuable tool for growers to use in making production and marketing decisions and for FSA to administer farm programs based on State yield and price data. It is also used by Cooperative Extension to provide outreach and education, as well as for the State Departments of Agriculture to assist growers.

Nearly 2,000 fruit and vegetable producer responses were tabulated for this publication. Producers in the 6 State region were asked to provide acreage, production, and wholesale and retail price information for tree fruits, berries, and 28 selected vegetable crops.

This publication compiles New England fruit and vegetable data from 2009 through 2013 into one report. Since total acreage data are not available for most fruit and vegetable crops, data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture are also included. Published prices and yields do not distinguish between organically and conventionally grown products. In 2013, approximately 20 percent of respondents indicated that their operations produced organic products for sale according to the National Organic Standards.

The success of this project is credited to the cooperation of growers across New England. We sincerely appreciate their time and effort in supplying crop information. As with all NASS surveys, individual grower information is kept strictly confidential and is exempted from requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The individual reports were used only in combination with other reports to establish State and regional estimates. Estimates in this report that could disclose individual farm data were recorded as a “(D)”.

2013 Season Summary: A cool but dry April allowed farmers to do tillage work and plant some cool season crops and strawberries. May started dry which allowed for ideal planting conditions. Sweet corn was 35 percent planted when welcomed rains came the second week.

The third week of May was a challenge as two nights of temperatures in the 20’s had orchardists and vegetable growers irragating and using wind machines to protect the crops. These lower temperatures slowed the emergence of early season vegetables. Freezing nighttime temperatures also damaged early varieties of strawberries as well as tree fruit blossoms. The severity of the damage was dependent on bloom stage and location. Rain and cool temperatures in late May slowed the planting and development of vegetables.

June started with a heat wave that brought temperatures in the 90’s This was followed by predominantly wet weather which limited vegetable planting during most of June. At the end of June over half of New England had surplus topsoil moisture which caused the replanting of some vegetable crops. Strawberries were just past half harvested. Fruit crops where in mostly good condition.

July started hot and humid and stayed that way for most of the month. By the middle of July the strawberry season was nearing completion, early planting of sweet corn arrived at farms stands, and highbush blueberry harvest season was getting underway in the southern regions. During July, high temperatures aided crop progress and by the middle of the month, the peach harvest was just getting started. The strawberry crop was tempered by the spring frost and cool wet weather during much of June. Sweet corn ears were also smaller than normal.

August started with what many called the best week of season. Drier weather and seasonal temperatures helped pick sales at pick your own locations. The apple and pear harvest was underway in mid-August with some orchardist reporting yields below average due to frost injury received in the spring. Wild blueberry harvests in Maine, which started late, accelerated to more normal levels by the end of the month. Wild blueberry growers reported about an average crop.

The apple and pear harvests picked up momentum in mid-September. Some orchardist reported a good crop yet some producers reported poor yields due to the spring frost damage and dry summer conditions. The fall raspberry crop continued into September with reports of some fruit damaged caused by the Spotted Wing Drosophila. Cool nighttime temperatures in the latter half of September helped the cranberries turn color.

Survey Specifics: The “All Price per Pound” column includes fresh market commodities only and represents the average price received by growers at the point of first sale, including both retail and wholesale. New England agriculture’s proximity to large populations has encouraged farmers to market directly to consumers through roadside stands and pick-your-own ventures, commanding higher retail prices at many farm locations. Differences in average prices between States for an individual crop are largely attributed to the amount of crop sold retail or wholesale as well as the amount of organic product sold in that State. Most growers were able to provide prices, however production, which includes unharvested production and, fruit harvested but not sold due to market conditions. Yield also includes reports from orchards with bearing acreage and no production in 2013. Peach and pear data are based on reports from orchards with 10 or more trees. Apple data are based on reports from orchards with 100 or more trees.

Source: Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts – 2013 Final Summary, July 17, 2014, National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.

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