Because the green-skinned fruit typically produces alternate-year bearing crops, growers rarely expect consecutive strong growing seasons.
This year, however, the deal is expected to be the fourth strong season in a row, said Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc.
“We have had three good seasons in a row,” he said. “A lot of times, we have a good year and then the following year, a crop shortage with not enough product to keep our customers interested. By having three good years in a row, our customers are lining up and are ready to go. If we have this fourth one, we will be able to satisfy their demand for the product.”
From 2012 to 2014, each season produced more than 1 million bushels, Brindle said.
Brindle said growers are expecting to harvest similar volume this season.
New Limeco LLC in Princeton plans to start harvesting June 9, said Eddie Caram, general manager.
“Picking depends on the rains, but it looks like we have a good season coming,” he said in mid-May. “We have had great tropical weather and December and January brought more rain than normal.”
This past season, New Limeco harvested into late March.
Because of development of new late-season varieties, the grower-shipper expects to harvest into early April this season, Caram said.
Florida’s commercial shipments normally end in January.
Industry volume should increase by 100,000 bushels, said Alvaro Perpuly, general manager and partner of Fresh King Inc.
Following the addition of more growers, Fresh King is expecting to increase production by 20%, Perpuly said in mid-May.
It expects to harvest 350,000 bushels this season.
“This year looks good,” Perpuly said in early May. “We are optimistic we will have a good season and good sales.”
Miami-based M&M Farm Inc. began harvesting small volumes in early May.
“It looks like it will be a little bit of a slower start with volume as far as the donnies (variety) goes,” Manny Hevia Jr., president and chief executive officer, said in early May. “Once we get into the peak of our season, in July, we will have some volume to promote.”
Because commercial shipments had not started in early May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wasn’t reporting Florida prices.
Last season in late June, when the USDA began reporting prices for the green-skinned fruit, Florida’s deal began at $11-12 for 1-layer 12.5-pound flats of sizes 8s-9s and $10-12 for 10s-12s, according to the USDA.