Though Florida’s spring corn deal saw a sluggish start, shippers packed consecutive weeks where the weekly totals exceeded 1.6 million crates, according to a news release from the Maitland-based Sunshine Sweet Corn Farmers of Florida.
Florida has been the largest U.S. sweet corn grower for more than 50 years, but growers believe this year is special, said Sunshine Sweet group president Paul Allen, vice president and co-owner of Pahokee, Fla.-based R.C. Hatton Farms. The company markets through South Bay, Fla.-based Hugh H. Branch Inc..
“We faced a variety of obstacles, including extended cold in the north U.S. and trucking challenges during a critical period,” he said in the release. “Despite that, we shipped nearly 7.8 million crates in April and May.”
Doug OhlemeierFor the second consecutive year, shipments of Sunshine Sweet-branded corn reached record levels.Many retailers cited the quality of the corn as a factor helping increase sales, according to the release.
A marketing campaign helped increase consumer demand, according to the release.
“As an industry, we have invested significant time and resource to change the perception of sweet corn as just a summer vegetable and improve attitudes toward spring corn,” Ted Wanless, chair of Sunshine Sweet Corn Farmers of Florida’s marketing committee and chief operating officer of Belle Glade, Fla.-based S. M. Jones & Co. Inc., said in the release. “Through an integrated campaign that has included outreach to trade, media, influencers and consumers, we have been able to grow sales in the face of hyper local and seasonal trends.”