Fruit size and tonnage out of Mexico likely will be down slightly through most of September as the industry moves into the flora loca — or off-bloom — avocado crop, which bridges the gap between the old crop and the aventajada crop, which will start in the fall, said Patrick Cortes, director of sales for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
Cortes doesn’t expect to see huge tonnage from the flora loca crop, and he said that, while fruit size should be normal, it will lean toward the smaller sizes.
Finding big fruit can be a challenge in August and September, he said.
The good news is that the flora loca crop should be higher quality than the old crop, where the percentage of No. 2-grade fruit topped 20%, he said.
“We definitely would expect the flora loca crop to be much cleaner over the balance of the summer in terms of grade,” Cortes said.
The current summer crop from Mexico is “is pretty good, but it’s not a boomer,” said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.
He expected to see good volume out of Mexico this fall, similar to last year.
“2016 was the first year Mexico had a smaller crop for the U.S., and now it’s coming back with its second good crop in a row,” he said.
Since Mexico has several blooms, the country can ship year-round, said Gary Caloroso, regional business development director for Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos.
“As a company, we rely heavily on Mexico,” he said.
The flora loca crop is comparatively light, though, and with California winding down, volume can be tight at a time when demand is strong.
“July, August and September is always a very tough time of year for avocado supplies,” he said.
Wedin was hopeful that, with the election of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as president of Mexico, growers in the Mexican state of Jalisco may finally get to ship their avocados to the U.S.
Lopez Obrador will be inaugurated Dec. 1.
“I’m hearing good things in regard to finding a pathway for Jalisco avocados in the U.S.,” Wedin said.
Negotiations to authorize shipments have been going on for years between the two countries.
It seems that the scientific work required for certification has been completed, he said.
“It’s all relating to trading relationships between Mexico and the U.S.”