Supplies of fruits such as limes and honeydew melons are coming under pressure as the Holy Week observance in Mexico means less fruit is being shipped over the border. The Holy Week is celebrated in the lead up to Easter and millions of Mexicans take the week off for observance and celebration. For US importers, it means less fruit availability as picking comes to a halt and packing houses close for the week. The ongoing border crossing delays are exacerbating the situation.
"Limes right now are in scarce supply," said Mario Cisneros of Santis Produce in McAllen Texas. "During Holy Week, Mexicans take the week off and production and freight slows down considerably. Additionally, the border crossing is very slow which is causing supplies to be even tighter. Last week, I had four loads of limes arrive but have sold out right now and will not likely have any new shipments until next week when the packing house reopens."
Cisneros said that the markets are climbing as a result, with lime prices on their way up. He predicts, however, that this will be short-lived, as next week is expected to bring a flush of fruit across the border. "We are expecting there to be a lot of demand and prices are up accordingly," he explained. "After this week though, the lime market will most likely ease back because a lot of volume will have built up and will subsequently start arriving in the US again."
Honeydew melon supplies also down
The company are also dealing in honeydew melons where the Central American season is on the slide. Overall production is weaker and suppliers are waiting on more regions to open up. As a result, the honeydew market is also set to be higher from next week.
"Right now we are bringing in honeydew melons," Cisneros shared. "However, the fruit is growing slowly and we are waiting on more production. We are expecting higher honeydew prices in the coming weeks. This week the market is around $7, but next week we predict it will be $8 or $9."
Mangoes currently the main focus for Santis Produce
During the spring and summer months, Mexico's mango season dominates US supplies. For Santis Produce, it is a time of the year when the company places greater emphasis on the tropical fruit. According to Cisneros, the major varieties are seeing excellent demand at the moment, however fruit sizes are tending smaller this year.
"Our major focus is currently on mangoes, of which all of our supply comes from our family-run farms in Michoacán," he said. "We have Ataulfo, Tommy Atkins and Haden on the floor at the moment. Mangoes are seeing a lot of demand especially on the larger sizes such as 6s, 7s, and 8s, all of which are in very limited supply this year. Most of the fruit coming across the border is comprised of small and medium sizes, however these are still getting a good price."
Viva Fresh a chance to meet with contacts
Santis Produce will be attending the Viva Fresh Expo in San Antonio on April 25-27 this year. The company sees the show as a fantastic opportunity to showcase their product range as well as to meet with contacts who they have spoken to throughout the year.
"We like to have a few samples of each of our products on display at the show," Cisneros shared. "Among the many items on display this year include limes, coconuts, honeydews, and mangoes. A lot of the people we deal with we only speak to on the phone. Viva Fresh is an excellent way to meet them in person face to face. We certainly have made a lot of connections at shows like this."
President of Santis Produce, Sebastian Sánchez and his daughter Jocelynne, will be at Booth #128 this year to meet with visitors interested in the company's products.