Supplies of blackberries are starting to increase out of Mexico.
“We’re finally seeing an uptick in supplies. They had rain a couple of weeks back and that set us back,” said Robert Wilhelm of Bova Fresh LLC in Boca Raton, Fl., noting that crossings from Mexico have increased to three times weekly compared to the two that had been seen recently. “I don’t think we’re quite at full steam but there’s the increased crossings and the numbers on all the pack sizes are coming in pretty well now.”
That rain in Mexico had led to some quality issues on the fruit but Wilhelm says overall the fruit quality has since improved.
Mexico, which will ship fruit until May and may potentially see peak supplies around January, isn’t the only region shipping blackberries currently. “There’s some Guatemalan fruit coming in also. Quality-wise, it’s the same thing as Mexico because they also had some issues down there,” he says. “California is pretty much done. There may be a few people still packing but I think they’re done with domestic supplies.”
On demand, it continues to be strong. “Right now demand is exceeding supply. That will probably flip-flop here in a few weeks getting closer to November. We’ll see demand come off a little bit and supplies will start picking up drastically,” says Wilhelm. That said, he does note that every year more and more conventional and organic blackberry volumes are coming in and consumers are responding accordingly.
Meanwhile as for pricing, not surprisingly, it’s strong right now. “We’re waiting for a few of the bigger growers to get more volume. Prices are $14-$15 on blackberries, organics as well in the higher $20s,” says Wilhelm. “It’s good right now but pricing will start coming off when more volume comes in.”