There are ample supplies of lemons in the market currently.
“I’m seeing an abundance of lemons coming out of Mexico. Mexico just started with its volume in the last two to three weeks so the volume and quality is good,” says Paul G. Gonzalez of River City Produce Inc. in San Antonio, TX. He notes that in addition to production from Mexico, California also has lemon supplies and Chile is also currently shipping the fruit. “But the sizing and the quality of lemons from Mexico is very good. They’re not to be underestimated. They have some #1 fruit and there’s a general abundance right now,” adds Gonzalez.
Why is there so much available? Gonzalez says much of it is because of the foodservice industry right now. “The pandemic has crippled the foodservice industry. It’s starting to claw its way back but it’s about 15 to 20 percent of what it was,” he says. “The majority of Choice lemons go to the foodservice business for bars, restaurants, hospitality, etc.”
Retail demand up
That in turn has left retail demand strong for lemons. “A lot of people are scared to eat out. The schools aren’t serving the kids with breakfast and lunch programs and you take the restaurants away too and everyone’s going to the grocery store,” says Gonzalez. “Retail was the saviour in all of this.”
In turn, this has left pricing on lemons lower than this time last year and Gonzalez notes that pricing on Mexican lemons is approximately $3-$5 less than California lemons. “And if foodservice stays the way it is, pricing will continue to be low,” he says. “There are more lemons than there is business right now.”