Some importers of West Mexican fruits and vegetables think that while the recession isn’t really over yet, the economy is better enough that customers will demand more organic produce this year.

After a down year in 2009, thanks to the worldwide recession, 2010 is looking up for the organic greenhouse vegetable program of Guadalajara, Mexico-based Divemex SA, said Kevin Batt, greenhouse category manager for Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group, which does marketing for Divemex.

The category isn’t expanding at its pre-recession pace, Batt said, but at least it seems to have halted its temporary slide.

“A lot of retailers who backed off last year are starting to integrate it back in,” he said.

“It’s not the same growth rate as before, but they’re realizing they can’t do without it.”

Organic bell peppers seem to attract more demand than other vegetable products, Batt said, though this year, Mexican bells, especially on the East Coast, will have to contend with higher volumes of organic bells from Israel, he said.

Nogales-based Farmer’s Best International LLC expects to see a boost in its organic Mexican mango program this spring mirroring the overall growth of the company’s mango category, said Rick Burkett, a salesman for the company.

For now, at least, mangoes are the only organic fruit or vegetable commodity Farmer’s Best imports from West Mexico in the spring, Burkett said.

“In the future we may consider others, but it’s not in our immediate plans,” he said.

The Nogales office of Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos. expects to ship organic colored bell peppers, shade house cucumbers, Tuscan melons, honeydews and seed-less watermelons this spring from Mexico, said Nick Rendon, division sales manager.