Weis-Buy Farms Inc. and CEO Chuck Weisinger are part of the article 'Florida Tomato Prices Remain High', written by Andy Nelson, published by The Packer, November 18, 2009.

Prices for Florida remained high in mid-November, and would likely stay high at least through the end of the month, particularly with strong Thanksgiving demand.

“Demand should remain extremely high,” said Chuck Weisinger, president and chief executive officer of Fort Myers-based broker Weis-Buy Farms Inc. “Supplies haven’t jumped out and hit us in the face.”

Prices would likely remain very high at least through the end of November, and possibly through the first week of December, Weisinger said.

Pricing will likely stay about where it is “for the next several weeks,” Bob Spencer, vice president and sales manager of West Coast Tomato Inc., Palmetto, Fla., Said Nov. 18.

Yields won’t likely return to normal until mid-December, Spencer said. Combined with that, shippers were seeing more demand from the West Coast, where California and Baja supplies were drying up quickly, Weisinger and Spencer said.

Supplies the week of Nov. 16 were “almost non-existent,” and prices would likely stay high at least through the end of the month, predicted Tony DiMare, vice president of Homestead, Fla. based DiMare Co.

The week of Nov. 16, Weisinger was seeing prices as high as $31.95 for 25-pound boxes of extra-large greens, with larges fetching $29.95 and mediums $27.95.

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a prices of $25.95 for 25-pound cartons of 5x6 mature green tomatoes from Florida , up from $19.95 last year at the same time.

The mid-November prices were the highest Weisinger has seen for mature green tomatoes in several years.

“And it’s not just round greens,” Weisinger said, “Everything has suffered. Grapes and cherries are really short, too. I wish there were more tomatoes to supply the demand.”

The original article 'Florida Tomato Prices Remain High' was published today by The Packer, written by Andy Nelson, originally published by The Packer, November 18, 2009.