Supply of asparagus from Peru is tracking at about 20 percent lower than a year ago. “Right now, Peru is closing its southern growing areas--Ica--and opening the areas up north--Trujillo,” says Carlos Solf, director of procurement for Southern Specialties which imports green and white asparagus from Peru. “We are working towards opening fields later to be able to have production in December when Mexican supplies decrease.”
The supply of asparagus, which is seeing good quality right now, is now mostly coming from those Northern regions. “It’s too early to gauge production volumes. Hot December weather would adversely affect production,” Solf says.
Asparagus is also coming from Mexico but the cold weather there will start impacting the supply.
Bruno Luis, director of sales for Southern Specialties
El Nino year
In general, the weather can always be challenging for growers--however, this year’s El Nino conditions are producing temperature swings that are particularly challenging for grower-shippers.
Meanwhile demand for asparagus has been consistent. “Consumers have made asparagus a regular part of their vegetable repertoire,” says Solf, adding that value-added packaging options make it easier for consumers to prepare healthy meals quickly.
On pricing, it’s been higher than last year at this time. “The increased costs and diminished supplies are the drivers for this elevated pricing. Most recent pricing is slightly lower as is typical for post-Thanksgiving,” says Solf.
Looking ahead, supply from Peru should increase. However, it will still remain lower than last year.