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Persistent warmth drives US cilantro production
There is currently an oversupply of cilantro in the United States, causing the market to weaken in recent weeks. The cause has been linked to the persistent warmer temperatures around the various growing regions, stimulating strong cilantro production.
"There is a glut of cilantro in the market right now and the market is unusually low," said Rey Jimenez, of Sunfresh USA. "For most of the year, we were seeing good pricing up until about 2 months ago. A lot of product ran really late this year in places such as New Jersey, North Carolina and the Pacific Northwest due of the warmer weather."
"Our growing region is to the north of Santa Barbara in California and we have had no impact from any of the wildfires that are burning to the south of us," he continued. "Our cilantro is available all year round. Production levels have been close to the average and quality is looking good due to the good weather."
Cooler weather should strengthen market
With all the additional cilantro around, growers are expecting that cooler weather will strengthen the market. Once the seasonal regions experience slower or a cessation of production, prices are likely to pick up.
"There has been little movement of product in recent weeks thanks to the ample supplies in most regions. Some of the major player have been deliberately selling below cost to move their product, as low as $5," Jimenez said. "It means that many smaller farmers are losing money, as for many of them, $8 is the minimum that they can sell at to recover production costs."
"We are hoping that the market will loosen up pretty soon, with cold weather hitting the southern states and into the East last week," Jimenez continued. "Temperatures have been at or below 30 in the Carolinas and New Jersey and are looking to dip even lower this week, which will mean cilantro production there will drop right off. Once that cold weather hits the East, we hope to ship product out there from California again."
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