Super Bowl avocado supply OK despite quarantine

12/30/2002 12:00:00 AM
Tom Lister

From now on, the Chilean avocado industry may use the Super Bowl as its final seasonal push into the U.S. export market, Culpeper said.

“There will be a lot of volume from Chile for the next few years that we’re able to see,” he said. Some Mexican shippers, now able to export to the U.S. until April 15, used Cinco de Mayo the same way last season.

As of Dec. 23, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported total Chilean imports to date this season at 3.8 million 26-pound cartons, up from 2.6 million the same time last season.

Prices on Dec. 23 were lower than the same time in 2001.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the following Los Angeles f.o.b.s for two-layer cartons of Chilean hass avocados: 32-36s $22.25, 40s $19.25, 48-60s $19.25-21.25, 70s $19.25-20.25.

The same time last season, Chile’s Los Angeles f.o.b.s were: 32-36s $30.25-31.25, 40s $30.25-32.25, 48s $28.25-29.25 and 60s-70s $27.25-29.25.

Mexican f.o.b.s also were lower than the same time last year but only by $3 at the most, according to the USDA.

In late December 2001, the USDA reported the following f.o.b.s for two-layer cartons of Southern California hass: $32.25-32.75, 48s $29.25-30.75, 60s $28.25-29.75 and 70s $28.25-28.75.

On Dec. 23 of this season, the USDA reported that Southern California’s avocado supplies were still insufficient to establish a market.

Cinco de Mayo traditionally marks the heaviest time for California avocado shipments, DeLyser said. But the highest overall U.S. consumption of hass avocados, regardless of the fruit’s origin, comes in the weeks before the Super Bowl, she said.

In the two weeks before the 2002 Super Bowl, 27 million pounds of hass avocados were shipped. That figure mainly reflects product from California but also counted volumes from Mexico and Chile, she said.

This season, the commission is calling for total Super Bowl consumption to reach 34 million pounds of hass, including preconditioned fruit shipped the week of the game.

The commission has organized retail display contests in San Diego, as well as San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

At Cal Flavor, Bittner said this season’s fruit fly quarantine was the first time anything like it had happened in the Valley Center area. Besides avocados, he said the produce industry also had the following fruits in the quarantine zone: oranges, persimmons, apricots, apples, grapefruit, guava, lemons, limes and kumquats.


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