Domestic supplies of cantaloupe and honeydew melons right now are at their peak.
“We have great supply and great volume and no shortage of product overall,” says Justin Bootz with Legend Produce LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. “We are a little short on 12-count cantaloupes, so the smaller sizes. We have big sizes in 9s and jumbo 9s but on the smaller fruit not so much.” He adds that in honeydew melons, Legend Produce has good supplies of 5 and 6-count melons, which are the major sizes retailers take.
Legend Produce itself also has more melon supplies this year due to additional planted acreage. Right now, melons are coming from Yuma, Arizona and will continue to come out of there until around July 4th. “There’s a bit of overlap when we transition from the desert in Arizona to central California,” says Bootz. “The volumes in Arizona will wind down at the same time volumes in California wind up. That usually happens around the end of June-early-July.”
Supply outpacing demand
Yet, demand is slower for melons currently. “There’s an abundance of supply right now. There are a lot of shippers in the game who are packing pretty good numbers,” he says. “We got out of the Memorial Day holiday and since then demand hasn’t really picked back up yet.”
Of course higher supplies and lower demand means lower pricing, though Bootz notes there is a range of pricing on the market right now. “People are looking to move product and everyone’s doing what it takes to keep the rotation of the fruit moving. Sometimes it’s not a price deal at all. Sometimes demand is just so poor that there’s not enough business out there to take the fruit,” he says. “Yet, for us, even despite the low demand, we’ve done a pretty good job keeping the cold room clean.”
That said, looking ahead, pricing will likely come up in the next few weeks given supplies are in the peak right now. “Hopefully we’ll see demand pick up as we get a little closer to holidays like July 4th and more retailers go on ad with cantaloupe and honeydew. That helps move product and keeps supplies low so we can keep prices higher. There’s nowhere for the market to go except up,” adds Bootz.