By Clint Thompson
Cabbage prices are extremely high for Southeast producers. That is good news for growers who actually have a crop. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for most farmers.
The Christmas freeze event impacted a lot of the crop, especially in Georgia.
Hank Scott with Long and Scott Farms, discussed the impact that multiple days of sub-freezing temperatures had on the cabbage crop, even where he’s located in Mt. Dora, Florida.
“It got a little burn on top of the heads which I haven’t seen in the past. I think it stayed below freezing a little longer than we normally have it down here in Florida. Usually it’s a couple of hours, but it was more like six or eight hours this time,” Scott said. “We were 28 (degrees Fahrenheit) here for two mornings in a row, but the first morning lasted a lot longer. I think it was shortly after midnight to 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning.
“They can handle cold just not below freezing for that long. I haven’t talked to actual farmers up there (in Georgia), just heard it through the grapevine. You can figure it out with how cold it got and how long it stayed cold.”
The cold temperatures reduced crop availability and spiked prices amid increased demand. Scott said prices were listed at $20 last week. He waited to the end of last week and first of this week to harvest so size would increase on the cabbage. Scott will be one of the few that will take advantage of high prices.
“Take advantage of it, you don’t get this opportunity very often,” Scott said. “Georgia had it at $9 to $10 two weeks ago before the freeze. It’s about double (now). But that $9 or $10 is below break-even (price), too.
“I know there’s quite a bit of cabbage planted in Florida. We normally would have started by now. I would hope or think (the price) would last at least the month of January and then break out. It’s hard to say.”