There are several reasons for the extremely strong market, Hymel said, but at the top of the list is a big shortage from industry leader China.
China is especially short this season on the large sizes favored by U.S. and European customers, Auerbach said.
In addition to the smaller Chinese crop, growing worldwide demand for garlic also is playing a role in the strong markets, Auerbach said. California shippers, for instance, are seeing stronger demand from Mexico and other export markets, he said.
In the first half of September, Spice World was shipping product from California and China, Hymel said.
Hymel reported excellent quality in the domestic crop this season.
“Our California crop is excellent this year — one of the nicest in years,” he said.
The company will ship California-grown from cold storage well into 2011, and will add Argentinean product in January, Hymel said.
Auerbach, which also will add Argentinean product around the end of the year, hasn’t seen such anticipation for Argentinean garlic in some time, Auerbach said.
When the Argentinean deal winds down, Spice World will supplement its Chinese and California supplies with product from Mexico — first from central Mexico, then from the Baja peninsula, Hymel said.
Shipments from Argentina and Mexico could help shippers better meet demand, Ross said, but there are no guarantees.
“There are a lot of ‘ifs’ out there,” she said.