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Chile exported more to the US this year
Ideal weather ensured good sizes for Mexico lemons
Supplies of lemons from Mexico saw good sizes and volumes as weather in the growing regions stayed in good shape. Suppliers have seen sufficient volume from there and have not needed to look elsewhere to fill customer demands.
"We have been getting a lot of supply of Eureka lemons from our Mexico regions this season," said George Uribe of Vision Produce. "The volume has been high enough in Mexico that we have kept to that region. This year we started the season earlier, in June, and we are still shipping from there. We will be finished there by Christmas and not go into January. We will then be receiving lemons from Spain starting in December and going through April."
The weather in the Mexican growing regions has been optimal in producing consistently good sizing. As the season approaches its end, growers are expecting larger sizes due to an increase in rain, but they say that such a pattern is typical at this end of the season.
"Up until a month ago, we had ideal weather which ensured steady volumes," Uribe noted. "Sizing has been optimal, with the mean in the 140 size range, which is thanks to those excellent growing conditions. October had its fair share of rainfall and then some. This has meant sizing has shifted to the larger sizes and we see that trending as we approach the end of the season. It's not concerning, however, as this is very normal for this time of year."
Market responds to large volumes
As volumes have been high, pricing has been soft since the start of the season. A lot of that is due to exceptionally large shipments entering from Chile earlier in the season which meant the Mexico season started on the back foot in terms of pricing. Pricing has risen, however, and should remain steady throughout November and December.
"At the start of the Mexico season, there were still large volumes coming in from Chile." said Uribe. "Normally, there are about 50 loads a week arriving into the United States from Chile, however this year it was more like 160-170 loads. The European market was challenging for the Chile lemons, due to excellent growing conditions in countries such as Spain which saw huge lemon yields. Therefore the season for Chile was less than stellar and a lot of that product ended up in the United States. Prices for the early Mexico fruit struggled, but have been higher in recent weeks. The CNC grades are ranging in the mid $20's while Choice are at $20 or just above. We expect to see this through to the end of the season. In the longer term, we are expecting increasing volumes from Mexico as new acreages are being planted in regions such as Veracruz and Michoacán. There are newer growing areas in addition to the traditional Tamaulipas region."
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