Labor Day marked the kickoff of the Chilean avocado season, said Maggie Bezart, the association’s marketing director.
The association wants buyers to start thinking Chile as the California crop winds down, she said.
About 70% of that country’s exports to the U.S. will be distributed in the West, with the remainder going to the East.
“Chile is known for its excellent quality and consistency in size,” Bezart said.
Sizing on this year’s early fruit was small to medium, said Jim Donovan, vice president of business development for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., but recent rain and snow in drought-ridden areas might help boost sizing as the season progresses.
Built-up demand for avocados should be strong because of tight crops in California and Mexico this season, he said.
Increased volume from Chile should bring some price relief for consumers while still allowing shippers to make a decent profit.
Two-layer cartons of size 48 avocados had f.o.b. prices of $52.25-53.25 in late August and $44.25-45.25 in early September according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We can’t complain about prices,” Donovan said. But he added that prices likely will drop in the fall.
Eating quality of the early fruit was good, said Dana Thomas, president of Index Fresh Inc., Bloomington, Calif.
He said he expected normal-size fruit from a crop that will be larger than last year’s with promotable volume for retailers by early September.
Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., started receiving light shipments of Chilean avocados in late July, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing.
Volume was picking up during August, and significant supplies should be available in September, he said.
By the second week of August, quality was looking good.