As the spring mango season approached, shipments of the ataulfo variety out of Mexico were expected to climb more gradually than in some recent years.
“In the past we’ve had some pretty aggressive marches as far as volume,” Chris Ciruli, partner in Nogales, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros. LLC, said Feb. 3.
“I don’t think we’re going to see that early volume hit in March. You’re going to see more of an April crop.”
Ciruli Bros. markets the yellow variety under its Champagne label, which it ships from facilities in Nogales and Donna, Texas. As production gains steam, they’ll become more of an alternative to the South American kents that retailers have been buying lately.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture scheduled its first f.o.b. report on Mexican ataulfos for around Feb. 23. Light crossings only were expected until then, without an established price. One-layer flats of kents size 7s and 10s shipped from Peru and Ecuador for about $8 on Feb. 10, up from $6 the year before.
Ciruli Bros. will start ataulfos in its southernmost region, Chiapas, Mexico. Between Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico, production will continue until mid-May when the sourcing moves up to Nayarit, Mexico.
“It looks to be a crop of moderate size,” Ciruli said.
Other varieties — like tommy atkins and kent — won’t be on offer out of Mexico until June or early July.
“Overall we’ve gotten used to these deals pushing faster early on,” he said. “You keep seeing guys push early for February. We used to never get any fruit then.”
That trend was not entirely welcome.
“February is one of those months where you don’t want to see a lot of fruit,” Ciruli said. “It’s tough to promote tropical fruit when it’s snowing and blizzarding on the East Coast. When we hit those first couple of weeks of March, people are thinking about warming up and about springtime. It gets easier to move fruit.”