( File Photo )

Shippers expect sufficient supplies of mangoes and strong quality leading up to Cinco de Mayo.

Greg Golden, partner in Vineland, N.J.-based Amazon Produce Network, said the holiday falls at a perfect time this year for mango promotions.
“We should be in the peak of the Southern Mexico season (Oaxaca, Michoacan, Chiapas, Guerrero) as well as the peak of the Guatemala arrivals in time for loading,” Golden said. 

“There will be good supplies of tommys, hadens and ataulfos. There will also be Haitian madame francis variety mangoes in the market on the East Coast.   

“So retailers could carry multiple varieties side by side,” Golden said. “Quality is expected to be excellent by this time frame.”

Sandra Aguilar, marketing and strategic planning for Rio Rico, Ariz.-based Ciruli Brothers, noted that volume will be steady in March through the Easter pull, with the company expecting about 80% of yellow fruit with fewer rounds up to that point.

However, she noted the timing of Easter will necessitate some careful planning by suppliers.

“The challenging part of this time of year is that labor is usually short around Easter due to Semana Santa (Holy Week),” Aguilar said. “Easter falls on April 21 this year, meaning we will need to do some very heavy harvesting immediately after Holy Week to make deliveries on time for the Cinco promotions.  

“We expect good promotable volume leading up to the holiday,” Aguilar said. 

Ronnie Cohen, partner in Hackensack, N.J.-based Vision Import Group, also expects plenty of supply.

“Mexican production continues to grow in general as demand continues to increase in the U.S.,” Cohen said.

Raul Arcos, CEO of Nogales, Ariz.-based Palenque Foods, projects that quality will be ideal for the holiday.  

“Mangoes will be at their prime, given that the fruit develops its particular characteristics such as sugars, color and flavor at this time of the year,” Arcos said. 

“Honestly, I don’t think there is a (better) time when you can enjoy mangoes at their best moment than around the Cinco de Mayo festivity.”

Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which specializes in tree-ripened mangoes, also said quality will be high.
“We see a steady growth for the April and May season as one would say this is the best time of the year for mangoes,” Schueller said. 

Jessie Capote, partner at Miami-based J&C Tropicals, noted that the Mexico season started several weeks late and said fruit from Costa Rica and Guatemala should help meet demand in March and April, respectively.

Organic

Nissa Pierson, who manages sales and marketing for the Crespo Organic mango program of Rio Rico, Ariz.-based RCF Distributors, said Cinco de Mayo falls during a difficult time in the season.

“It typically falls exactly during the transition from the southern regions, Oaxaca and Chiapas, to the northern regions, starting with Nayarit,” Pierson said. “So even though mangoes will be generally in very good volume in April for both round mangoes and ataulfo mangoes, the transition can be tough, unless it’s timed perfectly to align with Cinco de Mayo — which in my experience, it rarely is. 

“We predict good volumes and a smoothly timed transition this year,” Pierson said.
If all unfolds as expected, the bulk of the promotional fruit will be the end of the Oaxaca and Chiapas crops and the start of the Nayarit crop.

“This should give ample sizing options from the larger later-season fruit of Chiapas and Nayarit and initial smaller sizing from the Nayarit new crop,” Pierson said.

 
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