Supplies of lemons out of California currently are good.
“We’re starting to finish up the desert region and we’re a bit ahead of the industry in that regard” says Alex Teague of Limoneira based in Santa Paula, CA. “The valley is starting to ramp up. So there are good supplies coming out of the desert and the valley.”
He does note that the fruit is still lacking somewhat in sizing. “Some of the very large fruit is getting fairly tight but I think that these rains will help that and spread the manifest out well,” he says adding that the quality of the fruit right now is strong. “And barring unforeseen cold weather, we should keep having decent supplies. Not an excess per se but it’s spread out.”
Also finishing up its lemon supplies right now is Mexico though Teague notes its weather problems has caused it to finish early. Other countries such as Spain, Italy and Israel are also shipping fruit.
Steady lemon demand
Meanwhile demand continues to be steady, even with lemons generally being at the low point of consumption in the year. “Demand rides the roller coaster of what large cities clamp down as far as bars and restaurants. We estimate that 2/3 of all lemons go to restaurants and bars. Those go down, we go down,” he says. “But retail continues to be very good and we’re very pleased.” He also notes that exports are erratic in movement given supply chain issues and international restrictions.
As for pricing, it’s stronger than this time last year. “There’s been a little bit of a price increased particularly on the larger Fancy fruit,” says Teague. “I continue to see the upward swing on pricing on the big fruit in the next few weeks. The medium and small fruit will continue to be stable.”
Limoneira will also start with supplies from the coastal region towards the beginning of February. “So far we’ve had some wind. But they haven't been as horrible as they were last year. There’s probably a bit more Fancy fruit in the coastal region,” adds Teague.
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