US (CA): Lemon production set to rebound

After a freeze last year reduced lemon production coming out of desert growing regions, this year's lemon production in California is expected to make a comeback. With better weather conditions and no freezes this year, production for the state is expected to be a little higher than in average years.

“Within the industry, we're expecting about 42 million cartons of lemons this year,” said Bob Blakely, director of industry relations for California Citrus Mutual. “So we should have more lemons than last year, when production was about 39 million cartons.” He explained that a freeze last year in the state's desert region meant that fewer lemons were grown there. But with better weather this year, he anticipates production to be slightly higher than the typical yearly production of 40 million cartons.

Additional production, along with a good number of imported lemons, has caused prices to be a little low this year. But Blakely expects the market to work through the extra volume and for prices to climb as the season progresses.

“Prices have been lower this year, partly because we had a larger crop and partly because Mexico had a large crop and they extended their season,” he said. “Those imports kind of cut into our fall business and created an oversupply, but that seems to be working itself out and prices are getting back up.” But aside from a little extra volume leading to lower prices, the year has been good with strong consumer demand and good quality.

“Shipments are a little ahead of what they were last year,” said Blakely. “Demand has been good, and quality's excellent with a good distribution of sizes.”

For more information:
Bob Blakely
California Citrus Mutual
+1 559 592 3790

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