Watermelon supplies are starting to build from Mexico.
“Mexico is just starting to come back on and prices are getting a little easier,” says Michael Wilson of the Etobicoke, Ont.-based National Produce Marketing Inc.
The supplies are much welcomed after what looked to be a challenging January for the fruit in the marketplace. “Pretty much everyone had a problem with supplies,” says Wilson. “Those in Central America couldn’t get their product out because of rain. And Mexico had cold weather and rain as well. I’m now getting quotes from regular suppliers who haven’t been able to quote me for three to four weeks and that tells me there’s more volume coming across the border from Mexico.”
Along with more volume, the quality of the melons has also improved. “It looks a lot better now than what it was,” says Wilson.
At the same time, demand is challenging for watermelon during this time of year since the fruit tends to be tied with sunny weather—as the temperatures go up, generally so does demand for watermelon.
“Demand is pretty much doing what it does every year. Once we get into March, it will change,” says Wilson. He notes that in January, prices were hovering around .50 cents/lb. for watermelons while now they’re back in the .25-.30 cents/lb. range. “That’s going to make them slightly more affordable and as the price goes down, movement on volume will go up,” says Wilson.