Mango importers will wait to see how recent strong winds in the Mexican state of Oaxaca affect volume and quality of the early crop.

Angela Serna, communications manager for the National Mango Board, said Mexican crop projections - about 29 million boxes through week 20 (May 21) - remain normal.

"Even though it was reported that the winds affected 30%-40% of the crop, no information has been shared with the (mango board) about the effects this weather system (will) cause on the export deal," Serna said in an e-mail.

Nissa Pierson, who manages sales and marketing for the mango program at Rio Rico, Ariz.-based RCF Distributors, said the strong winds in Oaxaca will decrease volume in the region for January and February but said quality appears normal so far.

"The only way to determine that is to begin to see the fruit in the market and how it stands up," Pierson said in an e-mail. "In conventional fruit all seems well."

Adrian Capote, owner and vice president of sales of Homestead, Fla.-based J&C Tropicals, said the winds did drop a lot of ataulfo (yellow) mangoes, but he doesn't expect a major issue.

Sandra Aguilar, marketing manager for Rio Rico-based Ciruli Bros., said the company had also heard about the weather event but was uncertain of the effect.

"Our concern is that this may negatively impact product quality," Aguilar said in an e-mail, "but we are hoping for the best as the season develops."

Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets the Melissa's brand, sources its mangoes from Mexican states including Michoacan, Sinaloa and Nayarit, so the high winds in Oaxaca didn't have an effect for that company, director of public relations Robert Schueller said.

J&C Tropicals has started the year with a "very healthy" supply of kents from Peru, Capote said.

Volume from Peru is up 20%-30% from last year after a bumper crop in a season that started earlier than usual, Capote said Jan. 23, and he expected peak volume from Peru to continue for another two to three weeks.

J&C Tropicals starts shipping ataulfos from Mexico in mid-February. Capote said the company will also have a good supply of francine mangoes, a high-brix variety from Haiti, starting with light volume in March.

Ciruli Bros. expects about 3.7 million cases of yellow fruit and about one million cases of red and green varieties from Mexico, Aguilar said. The company will start shipping from the state of Chiapas in late February.

The company will continue the expansion of its organic line, with yellow fruit marketed under the Champagne and Elite labels. Those will be available in 4-kilogram cartons, 6-count clamshells and 5-pound cases. Promotable volume of Champagne should start in early March.

Ciruli is also growing its ripened mango program, with fruit sold under the brand name Super Mango. Those may be stickered with a "Ripe On!" label that lets people know the mango is ready to be eaten.

Melissa's is currently supplying tommy atkins and kents from Ecuador along with Australian varieties. Tommy atkins counts for about 65% of the volume, kents 20% and Australian varieties 15%, Schueller said.

Melissa's ships three varieties of Australian mangoes: R2E2, honey gold and keitt. Those are typically more expensive and harder to find than the common tommy atkins variety, Schueller said, but are desirable for their flavor.

In late February or March the company plans to start ataulfos from Mexico.

Pierson said that for RCF, which sells mainly organic fruit under its Crespo Organic label, volumes from the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca are expected to be small through mid-March and then to increase to normal.

RCF has about 500 acres of certified organic product in those areas, where the main varieties are tommy atkins and ataulfo.

Later in the year RCF plans to source product from Sinaloa, where the company has about 500 organic acres of varieties including tommy atkins, kent, ataulfo, haden, keitt and specialty mangoes including green, thai and baby, Pierson said.

"Volumes look to be good for this region," Pierson said. "Fruit is in blooming stage now so weather will be monitored to further evaluate yields for this region, (which) starts roughly in May."

This is the second year RCF will be marketing its organic fruit under the Crespo Organic label. A new website for the brand is scheduled to launch March 1.

U.S. Department of Agriculture reported f.o.b. prices on Jan. 24 from Miami for a one-layer flat of mangoes were mainly between $3 and $4 for all sizes.

Mango imports from Jan. 1 to Jan. 25 included much less fruit from Ecuador than last season, down from about 18.5 million pounds to about 3.5 million pounds, according to crop reports from the National Mango Board. The reason for this, Serna said, was that Ecuador's season started two to three weeks earlier than normal.

"The peak of their season arrived in the U.S from week 42 to week 45 (Oct. 16-Nov. 12) in 2016," Serna said in her e-mail. "The last shipments of the season were the first week of 2017."

Overall mango imports between Jan. 1 and Jan. 25 were about 32 million pounds, down from about 52 million pounds for the same period last year. Serna explained that difference is also due to a change in timing for one country's season.

"In 2016, The Peruvian season was early by about four weeks," Serna said in her e-mail. "This caused the peak volumes to be shipped earlier in December and well into January of 2017 ... Last year this time, Peru had already pretty much finished their season.

"This year, Peru is just now coming off of their season," Serna said, "leaving us with still more kent mangoes from Peru to enjoy until March."

 
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