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Domestic melon season sees a more historical start

With the offshore melon season almost all wrapped up, the supply of cantaloupes and honeydew melons is a little tight with the transition underway to a domestic growing season. "In the next week or so, most domestic shippers will get started in southern California and the southwestern Arizona area," says Garrett Patricio, President of Westside Produce. "Some started picking last week but it's very light supplies and we're ramping up before Memorial Day."

The transition is happening at the expected time this season–a change from recent years. "The last two years were stretched out further because we'd seen such cool, colder winters and we also didn't have the same rainy season," says Patricio. "It's offshore drying up around the middle of May and then domestic picking up around the middle of May. The last two years we didn't really get started until the end of May."

For Westside Produce, its program will begin by May 20th with consistent, ample supply from California and Arizona until November.

"I don't expect supply shortages this season though I know they tend to happen from time to time based on other environmental and growing conditions," says Patricio. "We've had a bit of erratic weather but we haven't really missed any planting dates so I think supply will be sufficient to meet needs." Planting started in the southern desert in January and will wrap up in the central valley in late July.

Demand also steady
As for demand, the company's programs are consistent with historical patterns. "I haven't heard of anybody cutting varieties and I have a few customers increasing volume slightly," says Patricio.

Meanwhile, on pricing, there's been downward pressure on melon pricing which is challenging given nothing melon growers/shippers have done has decreased in cost in the last few years to justify a price decrease. "It's such a supply-demand commodity. If you oversupply the product, there's downward price pressure. What drives supply is crop yields. If yields are similar to the past couple of years, which were excellent, there could be some surpluses and the pricing could drop," says Patricio. If yields go back to normal or slightly off normal, that may tighten supply and strengthen pricing.

For more information:
Garrett Patricio
Westside Produce
Tel: +1 (559) 659-3025
[email protected]