Sizing big, quality good on 2014 avocado crop - The Packer

Sizing big, quality good on 2014 avocado crop

07/07/2014 12:21:00 PM
Andy Nelson

“At this point a lot of Peruvian fruit goes to retail, and foodservice does more pre-conditioned.”

Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc., Fallbrook, Calif., is a partner in 1,100 acres of production in Peru, said Bob Lucy, partner. Most of it ships in the U.S. under the Del Rey label.

Most of the company’s Peruvian product is shipping east of the Mississippi this year, Lucy said.

“It allows California freer access to the West Coast. So far, it’s going pretty well.”

As much as 50% of avocados from Peru can be concentrated in large sizes like 32s and 36s, compared to percentages in the teens for those size from Mexico, California and Chile.

Fruit size should come down in coming years as Peruvian trees mature, Lucy said.

“Our trees are seven and eight years old, so we’ll see the size switch more quickly” than growers with younger trees will, he said.

For now, Peru’s main business still lies overseas, said Xavier Equihua, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Peruvian Avocado Commission.

“Peru is the largest shipper to Europe — what Mexico is to the U.S., Peru is to Europe,” Equihua said.

But the balance is quickly changing, he said, and a big marketing push from the commission this summer will no doubt accelerate that.

“Peru continues to become bigger in the U.S., to the point where Peru is the biggest exporter to the U.S. in the summer,” Equihua said.

Peruvian shippers expect to ship much more volume to the Midwest and the West this summer, expanding their reach beyond markets east of the Mississippi, he said.

“We’re basically East Coast, but we’re a good complement when California isn’t producing as much.”

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