Peru provides summer volume
Xavier Equihua is thrilled with this year’s Peruvian avocado program.
“The season is amazing,” said the CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Peruvian Avocado Commission.
Peruvian growers are expected to ship 189 million pounds of the fruit to the U.S. for 2019, “which is great for an off year,” he said.
Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., said that Peru is likely to have a bigger year next season with more fruit coming to the U.S., but he said how much more will depend on prices in Europe.
This year, during the week of Aug. 18, Peru is expected to ship about 5 million pounds of avocados to the U.S., Wedin said. That volume gradually will decline over the next several weeks with arrivals finishing up in September.
Peak season for Peru was mid-June to mid-July, he said.
More Peruvian fruit was exported to the U.S. this year than last because growers were attracted by the prospect of higher prices, Wedin said.
Peru actually was the market leader in the U.S. for two weeks in June, supplying more avocados than either California or Mexico, said Gahl Crane, sales director for Eco Farms, Temecula, Calif.
Peru sent more fruit than expected because of Mexico’s limited volume this summer, he added.
“We needed other countries of origin to step up.”
Most major importers increased their Peruvian programs, he added.
Peru is a good source of imported avocados because of the relatively quick transit time to the U.S., Crane said.
“Peru was a nice complement over the summer,” agreed Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
That was especially the case in May and June, when supplies from Mexico tightened, he said.
Late summer is an especially good time for the quality of Peruvian fruit, he said.
Peruvian avocados have higher dry matter than Mexico’s flora loca crop, which is now shipping, he said. And dry matter affects the flavor profile.
Peruvian avocados are well accepted on the East Coast, where most of the fruit enters the market and is consumed, he said.
And Peruvian fruit seems to be gradually moving through the rest of the country, he said.
Mission Produce is the largest avocado grower in Peru, Cortes said, with about 7,400 acres of its own fruit planted with more planned for the future.