Importers began receiving their first Brazilian shipments in mid-August, and they say they expect the transition to Brazil and other Southern Hemisphere production regions to go smoothly.
During the summer, Mexico supplied record weekly shipments that often exceeded 3 million cartons, said Greg Golden, sales manager and co-owner of Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J.
In the past, exporters would hit the 3 million level but not for as many consecutive weeks as this season, he said.
Golden said buyers should be pleased with Brazilian volumes and quality.
“It has fantastic color and gorgeous eating quality,” he said in late August. “We will ramp up steadily, but we don’t see a huge incentive for growers to accelerate their packings for the U.S. Their internal market is very strong due to a drought in the main supplying region, and the country is turning to Petrolina ... the country’s traditional export-oriented growing region.”
Despite the high Mexican volumes, Golden said pricing was favorable and retail promotions prompted higher consumption.
Once Mexican volume ends, supplies should tighten, and Brazil could benefit from strong mango momentum, he said.
The week of Sept. 9 could be the last week of peak Mexican volumes before northern Sinaloa begins rapidly wrapping up, Golden said.
The first containers from Brazil for Freska Produce International LLC, Oxnard, Calif., were scheduled to arrive at East Coast ports in early September.
Gary Clevenger, managing member and co-founder, said main volume should begin in late September and early October and start declining in November after Ecuador begins larger shipments in early October.
Brazil should bring strong volumes in mid-September, and Clevenger said the region typically ships quality fruit possessing attractive blushes.
“I think we should see normal quality (from Brazil) for what comes in,” he said in late August. “The only thing that really affects quality is rain.”
Clevenger said Mexican quality was strong throughout the season and that retailers benefited by running many promotions.
On Sept. 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for Mexican crossings at Nogales, Ariz.: cartons of one-layer keitts, $3.50 for 6-9s, and $3.25 for 10s.
From Brazil, the USDA on Sept. 4 reported one-layer flats of tommy atkins arriving in Philadelphia ports selling for $6.25-$6.75 for 7s-8s; $7-$7.50 for 10s-12s; and $6 for 14s.
Chris Ciruli, a partner in Ciruli Bros. LLC, Nogales, said Mexico shipped high-quality fruit to the U.S.
“I think you will see that this will be the highest shipping season on record,” Ciruli said in mid-August. “Prices have been very reasonable too. It’s helped keep the market moving.”
Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., received its first Brazil shipments in mid-August, said Michael Warren, president.
Warren said Brazil’s tommy atkins variety produces a strong red color and makes for a nice start to the season.
He characterized eating quality as high.