As Limoneira Co. begins its first summer citrus season since its November departure from Sunkist Growers, the Santa Paula, Calif.-based company is handling its own marketing of imported lemons.

In addition to Chile and Argentina, where Limoneira has done business before, the company has a new association with Mexico-based Cuatro Ases, said Alex Teague, senior vice president and chief operating officer.

“That season runs roughly (from the) end of July to December,” Teague said of the Mexico arrangement.

“It’s a domestic-type lemon for wholesalers and foodservice, to fill the gaps for our customers.”

Meanwhile, Teague said, lemon volume out of California’s San Joaquin Valley will be up 8% or 9% over last year’s June to August period.

“It’s not flooding the market but it’s more than normal,” he said.

“We should mirror consumption, which goes up then. Quality is good.”

Last year’s cool summer explains the bump.

“The August-September bloom stuck rather than setting and falling off,” Teague said.

Demand may keep pace.

“We finally see the foodservice sector coming back, so we have encouraging signs from a consumption point of view, and our export markets remain very strong,” Teague said.

Movement out of Chile and Argentina appears slower.

“I don’t see extraordinary pressure from Chile,” Teague said.

“It’s starting a little late and having a bit of sizing trouble. Argentina’s returning to normal volume, but with a strong juice market they don’t have tremendous pressure to go fresh.”