Lemon growers in California are enjoying the rain

The recent rains in California have helped lemon growers maintain a nice crop. Although some rains have been heavy at times, lemons do not suffer the negative effects like other citrus do. Sizing has also been at good levels as growers have been able to manage their harvests accordingly.

"Rain is not a problem for lemons and the recent rains in March have been very helpful for growers," said Russell Takahashi of Allied Avocados and Citrus. "We've had about half as much rain as last year, but the good news is that 95 percent of the rain that has fallen has absorbed straight into the soil, instead of staying on the surface and running off like it did last year. Sizing can be an issue with rain, as the fruit can grow beyond marketable size. But we manage it by harvesting when sizes are still optimal."

Central Valley in full production
Right now is the time of year when District 1, or the Central Valley of California, is in full production. The desert is no longer in fruit and the coastal districts of D2 are yet to commence. Fruit is in good supply and close to last year's numbers. The market is also running along steadily with no significant ups and downs. 

"District 1 is still yielding strong and nice supply while the start on D2 is still yet to come," Takahashi said. "Volume is about the same as last year, maybe a little less, but overall good. The market price is good, also on par with last year, however the price is always determined by the amount of imports coming in. If we see good growing conditions in all regions, then obviously the market becomes saturated and prices drop."

Anticipation of Argentine arrivals
This year marks a significant event for the US market, in that it will be the first time lemons from Argentina will arrive on US shores for many years. Growers in California are nervously waiting to see just how many lemons will be imported from Argentina into the US market.

"After trying for more than 10 years, the doors have finally been opened for Argentine lemon imports this year," Takahashi noted. "California growers are rather anxious as typically Argentina produces a very large crop. Arrivals are expected from May or June onwards, in line with the southern winter season."

Takahashi also noted that this year saw an increase in exports to Canada. "Canadians clearly like their lemons as exports of California lemons to Canada increased this year," he said. "The season overall has been good with steady demand and good prices, ensuring growers are happy with their returns."

For more information:
Russell Takahashi
Allied Avocados and Citrus
Tel: +1 (805) 625-7155

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