Melon marketers report good quality on imported product

01/27/2012 09:45:00 AM
David Mitchell

“It is getting a little warmer, so I think the production will start increasing from now on,” he said.

“Quality has been very good on the first load that we have harvested. Sizes are not very big at this time, but sugars are very good with brix levels averaging around 12.”

Just to the north in Jalisco, watermelon volume was increasing Jan. 11, said Brent Harrison, president of Al Harrison Co., Nogales, Ariz. Harrison said quality was good, but overall acreage is down in the Mexican state.

“We’re attributing that to poor markets last year,” Harrison said.

“Some guys didn’t want to risk as much this year and planted less. That’s helping us maintain a higher price.”

Harrison said weather had not been an issue in Jalisco, and watermelons were arriving with good size, sugar and color. He said production will continue into early March there.

Harrison said his company expects to shift watermelon production in Mexico to Sinaloa in March and source honeydew and watermelon from Sonora starting in April.

Harrison also expects to start receiving watermelons from Costa Rica by Feb. 20 with peak volumes from late February into early March. Harrison said early rains delayed plantings there, but harvest still was expected to start on time.

Harrison said the majority of the company’s promotions are set for later in the year when supplies will be more plentiful.

“We entertain people who want to go on ad, but it’s more common when prices are lower in the spring and summer,” he said.

Vice president of sales Lou Kertesz said Fresh Quest Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., sources the majority of its volume of cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon from Honduras from December through May.

Kertesz said fall rain and cool weather in that country led to a late start, and that size and yield are below normal, but quality has not been affected.

Kertesz said Fresh Quest has not had any weather-related issues in Costa Rica, Guatemala or Nicaragua.


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