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How Do We Have Cucumbers Year-Round?

Cucumbers are enjoyed around the globe year-round. They are often consumed and paired with vegetables but are botanically fruits, since they develop from a flower, and contain seeds. Cucumbers are the 10th most popular produce product worldwide with the average person consuming about 5.5 kilograms (12 pounds) in a year. It’s widely cultivated with a total of 91,258,272 metric tons produced in 2020.

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What are Cucumbers?

Cucumbers’ roots date back to Ancient India where they grew as a wild fruit. During 2000-3000 BC, the consumption of cucumbers began. Throughout India, the fruit was first used in rich cuisine. Once new forms of co-cultivation took place, the production of cucumbers expanded, and by 1000 BC, trading between India and Middle Eastern countries, as well as Europe, began. Another word for cucumber is Cucurbitaceae. Cucurbitaceae is a word used to label fruits developed on a melon vine. Examples of such fruit would be watermelons and canteloupes. Even though they are in the same family of fruit, cucumbers store more water than watermelons. Containing a total of 96% water per volume, cucumbers have the highest content of water of any food. The hue of a cucumber depends on the region and climate it is harvested in. The outside of a cucumber is usually a darker green shade, while the inside is a light green.

Common Cucumber Varieties Grown Year-Round

Two common varieties of cucumbers are slicing and pickling. Slicing cucumbers refers to cucumbers that are sold to be consumed fresh. They have thicker, more uniform skin, and are usually larger of the two varieties. Pickling cucumbers are usually meant to be used for preservation. The skin of pickling cucumbers is characterized to be thin and they are also the smallest of the two variations.

Slicing

Description: Generally sweeter in flavor compared to the common cucumber

Growing Region: England

Description: Mini cucumbers that have thin and smooth skin.

Growing Region: Southern California

Description: Does better in humid conditions and is not as sensitive to downy mildew as other cucumbers

Growing Region: South Carolina

Description: Seedless, sweet and bitter-free

Growing Region: United States, does well in southern regions

Description: Seedless and burpless

Growing Region: Hybrid – Grows anywhere

Pickling

Description: Disease-resistant, compact vines,  known as one of the best pickling cucumbers available

Growing Region: Hybrid

Description: Remains a dark-green color longer than most cucumbers

Growing Region: New York

Description: All-America Selections winner in 2014, grows up to two feet wide and two to three feet tall.

Growing Region: Hybrid

Description: Excellent disease resistance

Growing Region: Hybrid variety

Description: Resistant to cucumber diseases, known as “space hogs” in the garden

Growing Region: Garden City, Michigan

Eugene, Oregon

How Do We Have Cucumbers Year-Round?

Cucumbers are very easy to grow. However, they require warm temperatures, sunlight, and a steady amount of water. Most regions don’t have all three requirements year-round. If a fruit is not in season in one country, it is most likely in season elsewhere. And for that reason, cucumbers are available in local markets year-round. For instance, in the United States, the cucumber cultivating season is during the summer months (Mid-May to September) growing mostly in Florida and Michigan, and due to that, about 60% of the produce is imported from neighboring countries such as Mexico and Canada.

Year-Round Trading Data For Cucumbers (2020)

Exporters

In 2020, a total of $2.79B worth of Cucumbers were exported. Top Exporters were:

Importers

In 2020, a total of $2.79B worth of cucumbers was imported. Top Importers were:

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Harvesting and Packaging Cucumbers Year-Round

Cucumbers are pollinated multiple times, meaning that the harvesting process occurs repeatedly throughout the season. Once reaching the right size, the fruit becomes ready to harvest. The process begins by checking the vines for insect damage. Insect damage is caused by immature forms of bugs caving into the vines of the cucumbers and infecting them. Cucumbers are easily damaged, therefore, most times they are hand-harvested one by one insuring good quality for consumers. After picking, they are sorted and from there the washing and waxing process starts. Waxing is used to extend storage life, as well as to keep in moisture, and is only applied to slicing cucumbers because they will be consumed fresh. Next, they are placed in hydro coolers at 45 to 50 Fahrenheit. Drawing out field heat is essential to improving shelf life as well as maintaining freshness. Commercially produced cucumbers are usually packaged and sold in 50-pound crates. The storage time and temperature should be taken into consideration since different shipping methods have various transit time frames and different temperature control trailers are offered. Cucumbers are very sensitive to ethylene gas and should not be stored in trailers transporting produce that give off this gas. Produce items that give off ethylene gas include tomatoes, bananas, blueberries, apples, and avocados. To ensure the cucumber harvest does not get shipped with commodities that give off ethylene, an exclusive use trailer should be used when transporting.

Tariff Report (2018)

According to HS4 product classification Cucumbers was the 19th lowest tariff at 33.6 %. Countries that had the highest import tariffs on fresh cucumbers were Cyprus (141%), Turkistan (100%), Iran (90%), Bulgaria (70.5%), and Barbados (70.5%). Countries with the lowest tariffs came up as MauritiusUnited Arab EmiratesHong KongKuwait, and the Maldives at 0%.

Shipping Cucumbers Year-Round with FreightCenter

Shipping produce can be a delicate process and there are a variety of important factors to keep in mind when choosing a freight shipping partner. At FreightCenter, we can help find the best carrier with the lowest rates for all cucumber shipments. By contacting one of our freight shipping experts, you’ll be able to list all needs and requirements for your load before the shipping process. Hashing out the details and labeling your shipment‘s specific guidelines ahead of time will ensure a seamless shipping process for everyone involved. Give us a call at 8007167608 or run a free online freight quote today!

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