Strong demand expected for Texas kale
Demand for kale could be robust this season given recent weather events.
“This season the demand will be strong for kale. It’s going to be a good year for those who have it because of all the hurricanes in Florida and the Carolinas,” says Lois Kim of PPC Farms in Mission, Texas.
She does note that weather events also did delay the plantings of kale on PPC’s farms in Texas. “We just planted a few weeks ago due to unusually wet weather. Our region is really wet so everyone was delayed in all of the plantings. And then usually August, it’s too early and too hot to plant kale,” says Kim. “So we waited and then it started to storm. But we’re getting in there now.”
The season for kale from Texas will run November through to April.
All of this comes after a healthy end to PPC’s kale season in early April. “We had very good-looking kale last season and it looks like we’ll once again have some beautiful products,” says Kim.
A large part of that is attributed to a few changes PPC has made recently. Not only has it gone 100 percent organic for kale production but it also shifted to an integrated pest management system involving mixing crops. “Every few rows we have things like dill, cabbage, things like that, to lure pests away and protect our more expensive fields. So instead of 20 acres of kale together, we divide it up into two acres of kale and then some cabbage, and then some broccoli and then kale again,” says Kim. “Even though we’re doing a lot of acreage, each field is now multiple plants.”
She notes that PPC has seen yields go up with this new system in place. “And I think ultimately it will help our costs go down and have good yields. Last year we had really good looking product from the fields with multiple crops,” she says.
Looking ahead though, she’s waiting cautiously to see how kale pricing will go this season. “Price was a little bit of a concern last season,” she says.