College Station, Texas
April 12, 2005
Spinach harvest is complete in
Texas, and the news is good, according to
Jose Peña, Extension economist in Uvalde, said the 2004-2005
growing season was a success.
"Yields were up, especially for varieties produced for the
processed market (canning and freezing), and total production
was about the same as a year ago," he said. "Quality from
harvested fields was excellent. Some fields with varieties for
the processed market were cut as many as three different times
with close to record yields reported."
Texas producers harvested and shipped their first crop of baby
spinach this year, Peña said, and buyers said the quality was
While the end result was positive, Peña said the season was a
trying one for producers. Plantings for the fresh market were
down slightly from last year. Some fields were lost to excessive
rain in November and February.
Marcel Valdez, Extension agent in Zavala County, said excess
rain caused production to be down 26 percent in that county and
yield to be low.
The season in Zavala County ran from Dec. 2, 2004 to April 2.
Dr. Frank Dainello, Extension horticulturalist in College
Station, said the inclement weather lengthened the harvest time.
"The season is extending a little longer this year, due to cool
conditions and the attempt to make up for lost yield during the
normal harvest period," he said.
Planting began in late September and was staggered through the
end of February, Peña said. Harvest began in the middle of
October and has continued through early April.
"Whereas in the past, spinach for the fresh market was harvested
by hand and spinach for the processed market was harvested by
machines, now almost all spinach is fields cut and harvested by
machines," he said. "The spinach is then washed, hydro-cooled,
and prepared for either the fresh or processed market."
In the March 23, 2005 edition of AG-ECO NEWS, Peña is quoted as
saying: "Demand is growing for fresh vegetables, especially for
attractive, high quality greens with good taste and high
Spinach production is very important to the Texas economy, Peña
said. Nearly 30 percent of the country's processed spinach is
produced in Texas. This added $41.5 million to the economy of
Southwest Texas in 2004.