As north Florida begins spring volume up to two weeks late, buyers can expect lower red potato supplies to keep demand high and prices above normal.

    A series of winter freezes and heavy spring rains damaged the crop and could cut yields by as much as 50% on the front end of the red potato deal, said Adam Lytch, operations manager for Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc.

    L&M began packing red potatoes from its Palatka, Fla., operation May 8, about two weeks later than last season, Lytch said.

    He said the weather affected all of L&M’s potatoes to some degree.
    “Nationally and here in Florida, colored potatoes are tight,” Lytch said in mid-May. “Demand is very strong. Demand this year will certainly exceed supply.