Uesugi Farms Prepares for Desert Harvest
In the spring, armies of trucks hit the roads to transfer leafy green growing operations from the deserts in Yuma, AZ, and Imperial County and the Coachella Valley, CA to the more temperate climate on the Central Coast of California. But for growers of warmer weather crops, such as peppers and sweet corn, the desert is the perfect place to be at this time of year. As we head into April, Uesugi Farms is preparing to harvest bell peppers, mini sweet peppers, green beans, and sweet corn in the desert region of Coachella Valley in Southern California.
“The Coachella Valley provides the perfect climate for these crops during the spring as it’s more forgiving and moderate than our growing locations in Mexico,” said Pete Aiello, General Manager at Uesugi Farms. “It gives us a bridge between the growing seasons in Mexico and Northern California so we are able to continue providing these items throughout the year.”
Peppers have a long growth cycle, and in order to get the best harvest in the Coachella Valley during the spring, Uesugi plants their seeds in a greenhouse, allowing the plants to grow to approximately 6 inches and establish roots before transplanting them into the ground. This way, they avoid planting outdoors in the harsher winter weather while still being able to harvest in the spring.
“Basically, we’ve got to try to be smarter than Mother Nature and beat her at her own game so we can make sure we always have a supply year-round” stated Aiello.
So far, the weather has been perfect in the Coachella Valley, and Uesugi expects a successful harvest this year. They will begin harvesting in early April and expect to continue in the Coachella Valley through June and possibly into July, overlapping their harvesting season in Northern California.