Two large citrus grower-shippers noted that winds have had some effect on the lemon crop this season.
“Severe east wind events in early October and again in early December, with sustained winds of 40 (miles per hour) and gusts of up to 70 (miles per hour), increased the scarring on the lemons and knocked 15% to 20% of our avocados to the ground,” said John Chamberlain, director of marketing for Santa Paula, Calif.-based Limoneira.
Joan Wickham, director of communications for Valencia, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers, also noted wind as a factor.
“Wind events have had some impact on exterior appearance of lemons from District 2, but the crop is still good eating quality,” Wickham said.
Limoneira lost a portion of its crop to the Thomas fire, which was driven by strong Santa Ana winds.
“The Thomas fire destroyed approximately 4,000 avocados trees and 1,000 lemon trees,” Chamberlain said. “Our affiliated growers lost another 1,500 lemon trees.”
In other news on the fruit, Los Angeles-based The Wonderful Co. and Pasadena, Calif.-based Sun Pacific noted the crop is smaller this year and thus expected supplies to tighten near the end of the season.
The Wonderful Co. has seen good demand for limes from Mexico this season.
“Even though this is typically a lighter supply period, lime markets are also off to a strong start for the year,” said Adam Cooper, vice president of marketing.
Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association, made a similar observation.
“Typically this time of year (winter) the supply is lighter, with volume improving in early spring,” Galeazzi said.
“As a result, especially through the holidays when demand picks up, the market tends to be stronger. This year, there were a few additional weather delays (mostly rain) that added to a stronger market. From what I’ve heard, quality has been good since the rain came through quickly and didn’t linger long over the groves.
“So long as weather holds, quality should remain excellent,” Galeazzi said.