Growers expect strong supply but weak demand, prices - The Packer

Growers expect strong supply but weak demand, prices

12/04/2013 12:21:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Red flesh seedless watermelons types 4 and 5 crossing at Nogales shipped for mostly 6-8 cents a pound Nov. 15, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s a steep drop from Oct. 22 pricing of 22-24 cents a pound.

“A combination of a couple of good years of watermelon pricing, production and overall increases in acreage are giving us a bigger supply than normal,” Harrison said.

Good tomato yields

Mainland Mexico tomatoes were expected to start arriving in Nogales by mid-December in ample volumes for all varieties.

Prime Time, for one, has been importing romas, rounds and grape tomatoes out of Baja California through San Diego since the last week of October.

That production should transition to the mainland around Jan. 1.

L&M Cos. Inc. planned to start romas about Dec. 15, following bell peppers, which started Dec. 1, and eggplant, which started the first week of November.

“The crops have been through a couple of major rain events, but growers have been working hard to get them back healthy again and we expect pretty decent yields,” said Greg Cardamone, general manager of vegetables for L&M Cos.

Bell peppers slow

Ciruli Bros. LLC, Nogales, reported a slow start for Culiacan green bell peppers.

“On a normal year, we should already be into green bells and cucumbers,” partner Chris Ciruli said Nov. 12. “That we’re not into those two crops yet is an effect of the rain. Eggplant was about two weeks behind normal, but green beans were close to their targeted (November) date. Tomatoes are normal.

“We’ve had a few setbacks in the vegetable category, but once we get into December, it should pick up and straighten out. We’re optimistic that it’s going to be a good winter season,” he said.

Fresno, Calif.-based Crown Jewels Produce started eggplant around Nov. 20 out of Culiacan and planned to follow with green beans the first week of December, said Jesus Gonzalez, general manager for the Nogales office. Green beans go through March.

Crown Jewels also begins green bell peppers in early December, followed by red, yellow and orange in the middle of the month.

Rain damage to vegetable crops was very minor, Gonzalez said.

“We’ll have — not a gap, but light volume, and then we should fall right into place after mid-December,” he said.

“We are at most a day or two behind on vine-ripened tomatoes,” Steve Yubeta, vice president of sales at Nogales-based Farmer’s Best International, said Nov. 12.

“Those arrive the first week of December. Everything seems to be on track and on time with the Sonora crops.”

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