This versatile fruit, which can be used for cooking, in drinks, as a fat-free flavor enhancer and even as a garnish, maintains a steady following. The likelihood of purchase slipped four percentage points from last year, but lemons were the ninth most-popular fruit in Fresh Trends 2013.
The popularity of meyer lemons is reflected in increasing volumes from New Zealand as U.S. importers seek to meet consumer demands during California’s off season.
Giumarra Brothers Fruit Co. began importing New Zealand meyer lemons in 2010 and has steadily increased volumes. Jason Bushong, sales manager, said Giumarra expects to bring at least 10% more of the lemons to the U.S. for 2013 than it did in 2012.
Thanks to the global marketplace, citrus is no longer a seasonal item. As California navel orange supplies wind down, fruit should begin arriving in North America from growing areas in South Africa, Chile and Australia.
Citrus can be a decent-selling item during the summer months, but retailers don’t expect volume to be as high as during the peak winter season.
California growers expect to have a selection of seasonal citrus items available over the next few months, including valencia oranges, grapefruit and a variety of lemons and limes.
Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Oviedo, Fla., plans to add meyer lemons from New Zealand to its summer citrus program this season, said Paul Huckabay, Vidalia, Calif.-based citrus sales manager for the West.More Packer Stories for Lemons
Market Scope - Lemons — F.o.b.s as of June 10
SOUTH AND CENTRAL DISTRICT, CALIF. — Shipments fairly heavy — Movement expected about the same. Trading fairly active. Prices shippers first grade and choice 75-165s slightly higher, others generally unchanged. 7/10-bushel cartons shippers first grade 75s mostly $23.25-25.30, 95-115s mostly $28.75-29.80, 140s mostly $26.75-27.30, 165s mostly $20.75-22.30, 200s mostly $16.75-17.80, 235s mostly $14.75-16.80; shippers choice 75s mostly $18.75-19.80, 95s $21.75-22.30, 115s mostly $22.25-23.30, 140s $22.25-24.30, 165s $18.75-20.80, 200s mostly $14.75-16.80, 235s $12.75-14.80; unclassified (standard) 115s $18.75-21.80, 140s $18.75-22.30, 165s mostly $16.75-18.80, 200s mostly $13.75-15.30. Organic 7/10-bushel cartons shippers first grade 75s $28.30-32.80, 95-115s mostly $32.30-36.80, 140s mostly $30.30-32.80.