Jump in demand from East and Southeast Asia
Lemon numbers down in California
The Mexico and Chile lemon seasons are coming to an end right now, which means that all US supply at the moment is coming from domestic growers. Demand has been solid and, despite a lighter crop, size profiles are well represented. Prices also remain firm across all categories.
"Prices are consistent thanks to the combination of reduced domestic production as well as the end of the Mexico and Chile seasons," said John Carter, of Limoneira. "At this time, all of the US supply is being sourced from domestic growers. Sizing has been more average across profiles which is not in step with the lighter crop. Typically, we see a bias toward one size category when there is a lower crop. As a result, pricing has been firm across all grades and sizes. North American demand remains good and consistent while we are seeing a jump in demand for US lemons in East and Southeast Asia. The different climatic regions in California mean we are able to supply this market year round."
Yields down, particularly in desert regions
Lemon yields are down in the California and Arizona desert regions while the Central Valley is also seeing a dip in production. Growers say the heat earlier this year has been to blame for the reduced crop.
"The D3 crop has been lighter this year," Carter said. "This district comprises of the desert regions of California and into Arizona. The D1 (Central Valley) district has been off as well but not to the same extent. Some are saying the tree crop is down by as much as 30% in the desert region. Mother Nature is the main cause of the drop in yield. The extreme heat that occurred during various times of the year as well as the timing of that heat has driven this situation."
Seasonal promotions feature Meyer lemons
As part of a drive to promote the sweeter Meyer lemons, Limoneira are currently promoting this variety to encourage its use in seasonal dishes such as the Thanksgiving dinner and desserts. Carter also mentioned that Pink lemons will soon appear in stores within a month.
"It's a good season for the Meyer lemons," he said. "We see good supplies of those during the months of November, December and January. Meyer lemons are a cross between a standard lemon and a mandarin orange, making them distinctly sweeter than standard lemons. This creates a good opportunity for the promotion of Meyers in step with Holiday season recipes. For example, they are a fantastic addition to turkey stuffing and also in various desserts. We have recently launched our "Pair-it-up" program. Based on the concept of pairing wine and foods, Limoneira are encouraging the pairing of lemons with different foods. Each variety of lemon has a unique flavor profile which we want to distinguish to customers. Retailers who are promoting these diverse facets are seeing an increase in sales from customers willing to look at lemons differently and add them into meals. Additionally, we are also starting to pick our Pink lemons over the next month, so they will be available shortly."
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Publication date: 11/24/2017
Author: Dennis M. Rettke
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