With only a two-week gap between Easter and Cinco de Mayo this year, mango grower-shippers may be scrambling to keep fruit in the pipeline.
“It’s the closest gap we ever had until you hit Cinco de Mayo,” said Chris Ciruli, partner at Ciruli Bros. LLC, Rio Rico, Ariz.
He expected plenty of the company’s Champagne, yellow and round varieties to be on hand for Easter ads and hoped that growers would be able to rebound in time for Cinco de Mayo, “which is always one of the bigger mango pushes of the springtime.”
“It’s going to be an interesting April/May push,” he said. “We’re going to have probably four different states coming in heavy with mangoes at that time.”
Growers may be playing catchup during the period immediately after Easter, because many field workers take off during Holy Week, just ahead of the holiday, he said.
“It’s going to be very difficult to get your labor back in line that quick to match up with the production,” he said.
According to the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board, mango volume from early April through mid-May should be 12% higher than the same time a year ago.
For the year, the board estimated that volume should be up 3% to 4% from 116 million boxes in 2018 to 120 million boxes this year.
“It is expected that mango volume will continue increasing for the foreseeable future,” said Angela Serna, marketing manager.
Vision Import Group, River Edge, N.J., finished its Peruvian season in late March.
“The market was a little lower-volume than we had previous years, and it was very strong,” said Ronnie Cohen, partner and principal.
“It was a very good market that wound up being good for everybody involved throughout the supply chain,” he said.
The market started off strong in Mexico, where the company now is sourcing its mangoes, but he said it was starting to come off a bit.
Early production showed a lot of small fruit — size 10s and smaller — he said.
“The programs and the deal making will happen on those sizes going forward,” Cohen said.
He expected promotable prices on small fruit.
“From now till August, let’s promote,” he said.
Quality was excellent, Cohen added.
“We’ve had some decent blush, we have great internal maturity, so I’ve been satisfied and my customers have been satisfied,” he said.
Mango volume from Mexico continues to grow, he said.
“Every year, there is a little bit more,” he said, as a result of new planted acreage and trees that were planted a couple of years ago gaining maturity and producing more fruit.
That’s in line with continued growth in consumption in the U.S., Cohen said.
Daniel Ibarra, president of San Bruno, Calif.-based Splendid by Porvenir, said that round — or red — fruit was smaller than usual in early April, but he expected sizing to pick up.
“I think we will have steady supplies of all the sizes we need by the end of April,” he said.
By the end of May, there should be plenty of clean, good-quality yellow varieties out of Mexico’s Nayarit region, he said. And he expected to see larger mangoes available in August and September.
Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce started its Guatemalan mango program in March and will continue until the second week of May, said Michael Warren, owner/president.
The deal consists mostly of tommy atkins and a few of the keitt variety.
“They come from the Zacapa Valley area, which is known for its high quality,” he said.
The company also sources from Mexico.
“We try to source from all areas that have mangoes,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen there.”
The firm’s Mexican fruit, which includes mostly tommy atkins mangoes and some of the honey/ataulfo variety until mid-June, when the kents start harvesting, enters the U.S. through McAllen, Texas, he said.
Quality is good from Guatemala and Mexico, he added. Most of the company’s mangoes are shipped under its own Capco brand.