Avocados, fall tropicals see seasonal production declines - The Packer

Avocados, fall tropicals see seasonal production declines

11/11/2013 02:56:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Doug OhlemeierMary Ostlund (left), director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals LLC in Homestead, and Peter Leifermann, director of sales and fruit procurement, watch avocados run the packing line in early October. Florida produces the green-skinned fruit as well as other tropicals through the fall.HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Though avocados are past their season peak, buyers can expect ample supplies of the south Florida fruit as well as smaller volumes of tropicals.

Florida’s green-skinned avocados typically build volume in June and hit their season peak July through September.

Volume normally begins to finish in January with smaller shipments running into March.

“The avocados look fine,” said Peter Leifermann, director of sales and fruit procurement for Brooks Tropicals LLC. “We have had a less wet summer than last year. The quality is better this year vs. last year.”

In early November, growers begin harvesting the typically smaller monroe, lulu and choquette varieties, said Jessie Capote, executive vice president and co-owner of Miami-based J&C Tropicals.

Capote characterized the season as average.

“It’s a very typical year in terms of varieties and when they will come on,” he said in late October. “Prices were not that great, maybe fair at best. As far as availability, this will be a very regular year.”

The south Florida crop is about 15% lower than the previous season’s 1.1 million 55-pound bushels, Capote said.

In late October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported cartons of one-layer flats from south Florida fruit selling for $8 for the 8-12s for the choquette and booth varieties, similar to last season in mid-October.

South Florida tropicals

During the fall and winter, Florida produces a variety of tropicals including star fruit or carambola, passion fruit, kumquats, Thai guava and sugarcane.

“Overall, quality exists though the fall isn’t the peak of the season,” Leifermann said. “The quality’s still there but the production isn’t as high.”

Capote said supplies should be ample.

“This should be a very typical year on tropicals,” he said. “Quality should be good.”

Though carambola came off its September peak, supplies should moderate before its December and January peak, Leifermann said.

Passion fruit peaks in October but returns for another peak in December and January, and Capote said he predicts a full crop starting in late November.

Leifermann said the deal enters strong production in the fall and said the drier weather that followed a heavy summer rainy season helps develop fungus-free and cleaner fruit.

Kumquats typically begin harvesting in mid-November and usually ship through early spring.

Production has declined over the past couple of years and growers last year ended the season earlier than usual, Leifermann said.

On sugarcane, buyers should expect a huge pull in November and December, Capote said.

He said Hispanics enjoy grinding the stalks into juice for holiday drinks.

The fresh deal sees big demand during the holidays, Capote said.

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