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Northampton Growers moving smoothly from one growing region to the next along the East Coast

With nearly 60 years of experience, Northampton Growers Produce Sales Inc., is acutely aware of the importance of precision timing in planting and harvesting fresh vegetables in its numerous growing regions. The Cheriton, VA-based company follows the growing seasons from Florida, to Georgia, then to North Carolina and finally to Michigan. It then reverses its programs and heads back south.

Today, as one of the largest fresh produce growers, packers and shippers in the east, the company grows and sources premium quality produce with a promise of freshness on a year-round basis.

ccsm3aSteve McCready and Calvert CullenOn May 10, Calvert Cullen, president of Northampton Growers, told The Produce News that as the company was gearing up for its North Carolina crops, it was still in the process of finishing harvesting in Florida.

“Florida will be done by the end of May,” he said. “The season is unfolding nicely. Prices are holding and the crop is in great shape.”

One of Northampton Growers Produce’s major crops is cabbage, which it offers year-round. The drawback to a good year is that every grower in a region experiences the same thing. Strong volumes can push prices down.

“Cabbage in Florida is now finished and we’re into our Georgia crop,” explained Cullen. “We start cabbage in North Carolina around the first of June. We run this schedule every year purposely to avoid overlaps from one region to another, but sometimes Mother Nature throws a wrench into our plans.”

The company was still planting its other crops in North Carolina in early May.

“Things look good for North Carolina at this point,” noted Cullen. “We lost a few days because of rain, but once heat units set it the crops will catch up quickly. We’ll start green beans on June 1, cucumbers on June 10 to 15 and peppers around June 15.”

Northampton Growers Produce always attempts to plant its North Carolina corn crop so it harvests a week before the July 4 holiday, but its plans don’t always work out.

“A little cold weather set us back by a few days, but we’re not worried,” said Cullen. “The market for sweet corn is actually better after July 4. Most growers plant heavy to ensure they have good volumes in time for the holiday, but that can mean lower prices.”

The company grows a full line of commodity crops, and it ships throughout the eastern U.S., the Midwest and into Canada. Its line consists of green, red, Savoy and Napa cabbage, Bell and specialty peppers, zucchini and squash, green, wax and flat beans, cucumbers and pickles, leafy greens, purple and white eggplant, yellow, white and colored corn and a wide variety of hard squashes.

Northampton Growers’ fresh produce is sold under the Plantation brand on product grown in Georgia and Virginia, and the Mattanuskeett brand on product from the Fairfield, NC region.