All winter vegetables and fruits were getting a boost from sufficient supplies of water, which growers have not been able to count on during the droughts of recent seasons. Water tables in Sinaloa returned to normal levels in August, said Greg Cardamone, general manager of vegetables at Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos. Inc.
The same was true in Sonora thanks to returning rainfall, said Bill Spence, sales manager at Sandia Distributors, Nogales. Crown Jewels Produce tries to limit water risk by working only with growers who have their own wells.
Watermelons and honeydews will come out of Sonora through mid-December. Just before New Year’s, the southern crops kick in — Jalisco, Nayarit and Colima, said Brent Harrison, president of Al Harrison Co., Nogales.
But Harrison expects significant volume drops this year in places like Colima — perhaps as high as 25% — as growers there leave melons for more predictable profits in crops like sugar cane.
Squash and bell peppers
At Farmer’s Best International, Rio Rico, Ariz., Italian, yellow and gray squash shipments were under way in October. The crop was normal and expected to go through June, said Steve Yubeta, vice president of sales. Farmer’s Best started bell peppers in mid-November. The company will be packing European cucumbers again after a hiatus, and offering tomatoes on the vine for the first time.
Sandia Distributors started acorn, butternut, spaghetti, kabocha and banana squash by Oct. 26 and will offer those through winter.
Malena Produce, Rio Rico, planned to start colored bell peppers — mostly reds, but also yellow and orange — in southern Sonora in late November. On squash, it goes to December or January in Hermosillo before heading south through March.