The crop from Index Fresh Inc., Bloomington, Calif., may be down 30% from last year, said Dana Thomas, president.
Thomas said he was pleased that growers will get better returns than last year, but he added, “It makes it tough sometimes on customers.”
He expected Peru to relieve some of the supply pressure by increasing its shipments over last year.
“We’ll see promotable volume,” he said, “whether it comes from California, Peru or Mexico.”
Peru will be “the big regulator” this season, said Dave Fausset, national sales manager for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
Growers in that country are expected to ship more than 100 million cartons to the U.S. this year, up from about 50 million last year, he said.
California growers realize that imports are a reality, and that they have helped grow the market and fuel demand, Thomas said.
California growers are in no hurry to move their crops, Fausset said.
He expected many of them to wait until all of the Chilean fruit is out of the system, which should have occurred by late March. Avocados from Mexico also should start a slow decline after peaking around early March.
As those supplies subside, and sizing of California fruit increase, California growers will become more motivated to pick, Thomas said.
“It will be their turn to come to the party.”