HOMESTEAD, Fla. — This should be another typical season for Florida avocado grower-shippers.
While some growers begin early harvesting of light volumes in late May, most commercial harvesting in south Florida begins in early to mid-June. Promotable volumes ramp up by early July.
“We are expecting to have another good crop of Florida avocados this year,” said Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc. “We have had good weather so far this spring, which usually leads to good volume and good quality.
“If we get the expected volume, we will be offering promotions July through September. Some of our retail partners will promote Florida avocados for 12 consecutive weeks during this period.”
Those strong production years usually produce a variety of all the sizes retail customers want, Brindle said in late May.
Three years of normal
Grower-shippers anticipate production of their green-skinned varieties to mirror last year’s.
Alan Flinn, administrator of the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee, said he expects grower-shippers to pack 1 million 55-pound bushels, in line with the 1 million bushel production average for 2008-12.
Last season’s output was 1.1 million bushels.
If industry predictions are accurate, this will be the third straight year growers would pack a normal crop, Brindle said.
Brooks, which plans to begin harvesting its early donnie variety in mid-June, expects to pack about half this year’s crop, Brindle said.
Growers of the smooth-skinned West Indian-type varieties are hoping this year brings better prices than last season.
Last year, an overabundance of hass avocados kept Florida avocado prices lower than usual and made it harder to move fruit, said Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton.
“I really think this year’s volumes will be steady, like last year,” Caram said in late May. “The deal should be pretty consistent.”
New Limeco plans to begin harvest in early June.
Manny Hevia Jr., president and chief executive officer of M&M Farm Inc., Miami, said strong volume should hit markets by mid-July.
“In mid-July, we can start doing some decent deals,” he said. “I am optimistic we’ll have a good season.
We will have good quantities for some nice promotions. Some varieties will be a little lighter but others will be heavier-yielding ... It looks to be a good year.”
J&C Tropicals in Miami looks to begin harvesting its 300 acres in early June.
“I think this will be a great season in terms of quality and sizing,” Jessie Capote, executive vice president and co-owner, said in late May. “The fruit looks good and the quality is there. There is nothing about this year’s upcoming crop that leads me to believe it will be any different in terms of volume, quality and sizings.”
July will mark the beginning of strong volumes suitable for retail promotions, said Alvaro Perpuly, general manager and partner of Fresh King Inc.
“We have really good fruit,” he said in late May. “The fruit looks good early. The quality of the fruit will be really good in late June and early July to offer strong promotions all the way through October.”
Fresh King began harvesting May 20, Perpuly said.
Because sufficient commercial shipments had not yet started, the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn’t report Florida prices in late May.
Last season in mid-June, Florida’s deal began at $13 for 1-layer 12.5-pound flats of sizes 8s-12s, according to the USDA.
Grower-shippers normally ship promotable volume through fall, with smaller volumes continuing through late January.
Florida growers produce from 7,500 acres, according to the avocado committee.