Mango growers report ample supply, solid demand

04/06/2009 12:00:00 AM
Ashley Bentley

Shipments have crept up from 800,000 boxes the week ending Feb. 21 to 1.4 million boxes the week ending March 21, he said.

“Those are very, very manageable increases,” Loza said. “There have been increases, but no doubling from one week to the next. This year’s growing season allowed us to harvest with steady peaks.”

Nogales, Ariz.-based Farmer’s Best International LLC may be down a little bit in overall mango imports this year.

“It’s hard to say what to expect, but I do think with what we’re hearing as far as production, it may be lighter,” said Rick Burkett, salesman for Farmer’s Best. “The last I heard we’re going to be 5% down.”

Burkett said the decline may be due to a warmer winter, which plants weren’t accustomed to, so they may have tended to produce a little less.

Farmer’s Best had been shipping ataulfo, or “baby” mangoes, for five or six weeks by the end of March. The company started with tommy atkins and hadens March 30.

“It’s pretty much on time for us,” Burkett said. “We prefer to leave ours on the tree a little longer so it can mature and develop sugars.”

Farmer’s Best markets ataulfo mangoes under the Soliel label early in the season, but also uses its Farmer’s Best label for the same variety from different growing regions. The company should have ataulfos until the first of July, when it starts with kents, which are larger and green-skinned.

Burkett said should he have keitts by Aug. 1 through the end of September. Keitts are similar to kents, but have some red blush and grow farther north in Mexico, making them a later variety.

Loza agreed Mexico’s season started earlier than normal, with ataulfos from the country being imported by early February. Red mangoes from Mexico started later in February, right on time, Loza said. Freska Produce also imports from Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala.

Central American Produce, Pompano Beach, Fla., is bringing in Nicaraguan and Guatemalan fruit, but waits for Mexico until May, said Sabine Henry, sales manager for tropical fruits. The company strictly imports tommy atkins from those two countries, but starts with hadens, kents and keitts when Mexico comes in.

Glassboro, N.J.-based Amazon Produce Network used to focus its year-round mango program on offshore imports, but has picked up a program from Mexico.

The company also imports from Nicaragua and Guatemala, said Greg Golden, sales manager and partner.

Ataulfos came in heavy and fast from Mexico, Golden said. The company brought in its first shipment of ataulfos and tommy atkins from Mexico the first week of March.



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