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First clementines from Peru arrive in US
The first clementines of the season from Peru have landed on US shores, just as the California season is wrapping up. This will be the first in the next several months of citrus supply from South America over the northern summer.
"Harvesting in Peru commenced on April 15 and our first arrivals began last week," said Fabian Zarate of Tambo Sur. "The first of the season are the clementines, expecting more arrivals this week. Then in the first week of July, W. Murcotts will commence their season, and will continue through until October."
So far, weather conditions have been favorable for the citrus varieties in Peru, although slight coolness is keeping growers watchful. "Growing conditions have been very good for citrus," Zarate observed. "Clementines are growing in the northern part of Peru, and the weather has been favorable for color and overall quality. Weather patterns, however, have been changing, and it has been a little cooler than usual. This is a good thing, but we are hopeful the weather will remain this way. W. Murcotts are grown in the southern part of the country."
Demand very high
Suppliers have noted that demand is currently very high. Peru is enjoying a gap between the Californian season, which is finishing up, and the Chilean season, which has yet to ship any significant volumes. As a result, prices are reasonably high, something that Peruvian suppliers are expected to enjoy over the coming weeks.
"Demand has been very good and is only getting stronger," Zarate noted. We are in a demand exceeds supply situation primarily because there is not a lot of fruit around. We have a window of between three to four weeks before Chile starts shipping in bigger volumes. Currently, prices are between $34.00 - $36.00 for 10, 3lb bags, and even approaching $38.00."
Currently, sizing on clementines out of Peru is close to average. According to Zarare, there is a lot of smaller sized fruit originating from Chile, which would give Peru growers an edge. "There is a lot of smaller fruit coming out of Chile at the moment," he said. "Out of Peru, there is not as much smaller fruit, and the sizing spread is more even."
Packing in the US
Pack sizes and designs remain largely the same, however this does not affect Peruvian growers because all their fruit must be shipped in bulk due to quarantine requirements. Once arrived into the US, it is then repacked for local distribution.
"All fruit entering the United States from Peru must be cold treated and therefore it all arrives in bulk," Zarate said. "We then pack the fruit into bags here. The most common are the 3lb bags which we ship in lots of 10. The exception is a 5lb gift box, which Tambo Sur is allowed to ship directly from Peru. We also do special packs, as well as 10kg, 15kg and 16kg boxes."
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