Mexican avocado volume to gradually rise

Mexican avocado volume to gradually rise

Supplies of Mexican avocados should pick up as fall progresses after going through a shortfall this summer.

Mexico’s flora loca — or off bloom — crop should peak sometime between mid-August and early September, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.

That will be followed by the aventajada crop in September with “big numbers in October,” when the main crop comes on and California and Peru are out of the deal.

Peak flavor for Mexican avocados comes between November and June, but the flavor actually is good year-round, he said.

Wedin expects Mexico to have a larger crop next year than this year.

“December through June looks really big for Mexico,” he said.

Growers in Mexico will try to control the volume when the California and Peru deals are over, Wedin said. But they can only control so much.

“People get behind, and they have to pick,” he said.

As long as supplies remain tight, Mexican avocado prices likely will remain higher than usual, said Paul Weismann, president of Healthy Avocado Inc., Berkeley, Calif.

“Whenever there is a shortage, avocados are going to be a very expensive item,” he said.

This is the first year packers got 100 pesos per kilogram, “which is really high,” he said.

When supplies are plentiful, that figure can drop to 25 pesos, he said.

“There’s a huge difference.”

In late July, the f.o.b. price of a 48-count carton of avocados was about $65, he said.

“That’s with a fair amount of fruit in the market.”

By October, Mexico will be trucking up to 1,400 loads of avocados per week into the U.S., he said.

“It will be interesting to see where the price level is until that time,” Weismann said.

Gahl Crane, sales director for Eco Farms, Temecula, Calif., expected “good, steady volume” until mid- to late September, which should be followed by “big volume.”

He said in late July that volume for the next two months should be “good but not huge.”

Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., agreed.

“August and September are still shaping up to be probably pretty lean” as far as avocados supplies are concerned, he said.

“Unless we see a drastic increase in what Mexico starts to harvest, August and September could be tight in terms of overall supply.”

He expected promotable volume in mid- to late October, when the main crop comes on.

Dan Acevedo, director of business development for Newport Beach, Calif.-based GreenFruit Avocados, a Mexico grower and packer, said he expected the flora loca crop to be lighter than last year, and he said the new crop might be lighter as well.

That was a concern because demand continues to grow, he said.

“There still may be some turbulent times ahead.”