Supplies of greenhouse tomatoes are good but volumes will soon build to meet the increased demand tomatoes have seen in 2020.
“Supply and quality are both good, although the seasonally low light levels do slow the growth this time of the year. We should see stronger volume around March 1,” says Anthony Otto of Magic Sun in Richmond, VA. Otto notes supplies are similar to last year at this time. “However, we added eight percent additional acreage so conventional and organic beefsteak volume is better than last year for us.”
Currently Magic Sun is harvesting all of its varieties of tomatoes including conventional and organic versions of tomatoes on the vine (TOV), beefsteak, grape and cocktail tomatoes. “Our tomatoes are all grown in high-tech greenhouses in Central Mexico. These high-elevation locations give us the advantage of the excellent light conditions and insulation from extreme weather, resulting in very consistent and predictable harvest levels year over year,” says Otto.
Stronger volumes of greenhouse tomatoes are expected around March 1.
Mexico is also the home of Magic Sun’s CEICKOR University, a 17-acre campus and greenhouse located in Querétaro. “Our CEICKOR university continues to be a leader in research, development and training, with an emphasis on creating opportunities for people in central Mexico, especially underserved rural communities,” says Otto. “Recently we expanded our footprint in the community by creating a sports-training program and a semi-pro soccer team. We take a lot of pride in the work being done at CEICKOR and can't wait to see what the future brings.”
Along with production in Mexico, current industry supplies are overlapping with that of the U.S. and Canadian greenhouse supplies as well as field/low-tech Western Mexico and Florida crops.
Magic Sun's CEICKOR University is located in Mexico. The company recently expanded its footprint in the community by creating a sports-training program and a semi-pro soccer team.
Meanwhile retail demand is strong for greenhouse tomatoes. “I think the new trend of consumers eating at home more often isn’t going away as soon as the restaurants open back up. With that in mind, I think consumption at retail will continue to grow, especially on the organic options,” says Otto.
More movement on organics
Indeed, Otto says organic demand is strong across TOV, beefsteak and grape tomatoes. “Conventional cocktail tomatoes are also moving very well. Planting decisions are being made right now and next season will include romas, organic romas as well as a stronger focus on organics overall.”
Felix Tarrats, director of CEICKOR University in Querétaro, Mexico.
And where has all of this left pricing? “Last year was a wild ride with prices on conventional and organic beefsteak that were much higher than we've seen for years. This year prices across the board are closer to seasonal norms, but still very good as consumers are doing more meal prep at home and buying more at retail grocers,” says Otto.
Looking ahead, the company says supplies will increase over the next few weeks. The company also continues to focus on its new blueberry line, created by leveraging the knowledge of Magic Sun’s growers. The blueberries are now available in 6 oz. and one-pint containers year-round.