“I think it (Peru) will have some product available,” Friedman said. “But I think the growers are not yet wanting to commit volumes. They are trying to see which way the market will go before they state what they have available.”
The weak U.S. dollar is a problem, Yager said. Alpine Fresh imports most of its asparagus, and the weak dollar continues to make the U.S. market less attractive as compared to countries with stronger currencies. Still, Yager said he expects there to be promotable volumes of asparagus available for Easter.
“There will be volume, but will it be enough is the question,” Yager said.
Tony Pinto, procurement manager for Los Angeles-based Harvest Sensations’ Miami office, said he expects asparagus demand to increase about two to three weeks before Easter. He said the company plans to source asparagus from Peru unless the U.S. market gets so low that it doesn’t make sense to import it.
Crystal Valley Foods, Miami, imports Peruvian asparagus year round, and it plans to have Peruvian supplies for Easter, said Rick Durkin, president and sales manager.
Todd Miedema, director of marketing for Miedema Produce Inc., Hudsonville, Mich., said Michigan-grown asparagus is popular with his customers, and he expects strong demand for limited supplies from Michigan this season.
Miedema said this season’s processing market for asparagus will likely be strong for growers, which means growers will probably look to the processing market as an option if fresh market prices are low. Shifting supplies away from the fresh market would then create a higher price floor for the fresh market.
Dan Mol, president, Mol Produce Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., said he expects Michigan supplies to be adequate and similar to last year’s volume. The company expects to market more asparagus from its Ontario growers this season.
Mol Produce expects its Indiana growers to begin harvest in early April, Mol said. Growers in Michigan and Ontario are expected to start about a month later.