Florida ramps up for summer avocados - The Packer

Florida ramps up for summer avocados

05/09/2013 07:27:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Florida avocado grower-shippers are looking forward to another normal season.

They expect some shipments to begin in small volumes in mid- and late May, but most growers plan to start in earnest in early to mid-June. Volumes build until promotable volume typically begins in early July.

Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., views some early season donnie variety avocados in late April.Doug OhlemeierBill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., views some early season donnie variety avocados in late April.Brooks Tropicals Inc. plans to start harvesting the early donnie variety in mid-June.

Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management, said the overall industry expects to pack 1.1 million 55-pound bushels, similar to last year.

He said that’s the industry’s best early guess.

“If that prediction is accurate, this will be our third year in a row that we will have a good crop,” Brindle said in early May.

“Like in 2011, we had a good crop in 2012 with good timing and good volume. Once we get into July, we will have good volumes through September. Some of our retail customers will promote for literally 12 weeks during that window.”

Brindle said retailers can also expect the season to bring high-quality fruit that yields a variety of sizes.

Brooks expects to pack around 500,000 bushels this year, Brindle said.

New Limeco LLC in Princeton plans to begin harvesting in early June.

Eddie Caram, general manager, agrees that the season should be strong.

“It looks pretty decent,” he said in late April. “Some say some of the early varieties, the donnies, look to be a little less. Some groves are a little lighter than last year, but it’s hard to estimate (this early). We still haven’t gone through May, when we could have some small fruit drop around June 1.”

New Limeco plans to pack 270,000 bushels, similar to last year, Caram said.

M&M Farm Inc., Miami, is set to begin harvesting in mid-May but growers won’t bring promotable volume until early to mid-July, said Manny Hevia Jr., president and chief executive officer.

“It’s still a little early to know, but based on what’s out there, this should be an average year,” Hevia said in late April.

“It’s pretty encouraging that this season looks like things will be status quo.”

Because shipments had not begun, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wasn’t reporting Florida prices in early May.

Last season in mid-June, Florida’s deal began at $13 for one-layer 12.5-pound flats of size 8-12s, according to the USDA.

According to the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee, Florida’s 7,500 acres in 2012-13 produced 1.16 million bushels, higher than the 819,594 bushel average growers produced 2006-10.



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