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Rain puts a damper on lemon pickingThe rains in California continue to damper harvesting of produce-this time on lemons. “We do have a limited supply of lemons, but due to the rain, we haven’t been able to pick,” says Lupita Fernandez of Fillmore-Piru Citrus in California. “We don’t have any storage capacity like a traditional lemon packing house. Our niche in the citrus industry is that we pack fresh.”
While harvesting is behind schedule, fruit quality seems to be holding quiet well. Currently there is an abundance of small fruit, primarily 200s and 235s, but that will change. Lemons respond well to rain and they will grow quickly now says Fernandez.
Trying to maintain pricing
Pricing does not currently reflect the lack of freshly harvested fruit as most shippers are moving fruit from storage to cover primarily contract business. “We’re trying to maintain pricing and remind our customers that we have a limited supply because we only pack fresh and maintain a high quality grade,” adds Fernandez.
Currently the supply side is almost exclusively from California and Arizona shippers. “By summer we will see Chilean and Mexican product in the market,” she notes, adding that the rain is the biggest concern as harvest crews cannot get into the rain soaked orchards. “For now, I’m trying my best to cover all of my customers needs.”
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