“We got off to a later start out of that area than we’d like.”
Later in the spring, Crown Jewels expects to add production of cucumbers, squash, bell peppers and perhaps some strawberries in Baja California.
The reemergence of bell peppers didn’t help sellers on price.
“Demand was very good, the markets remained high and we came into a nice flush of product about the same time Florida got back on their feet,” said Mike Aiton, marketing director for Coachella, Calif.-based Prime Time International. “It was a double whammy to the markets.”
“There aren’t many items in West Mexico where the market prices are very good,” Aiton said.
“Last year on hard squash, there were a lot of sales in the $20s due to some weather, but now it’s more seasonably correct in the $8-12 range.”
Fried DeSchouwer, president of Vero Beach, Fla.-based Greenhouse Produce Co. LLC, retained some optimism for the Nogales season.
“I foresee a good ending of the season in the next two months and I think the market will restore itself,” he said Feb. 11. “Once the U.S. storms subside, people will at least be able to go out and shop.”
The Giumarra Cos. and Crown Jewels Produce are boosting Mexico watermelon production.
Giumarra, which traditionally had a gap from January to early April, has more than doubled production, said Gil Munguia, Giumarra Nogales division manager. Crown Jewels expects to be up as much as 40% on seedless watermelons and honeydews starting in early April.