A larger crop has retailers running longer and bigger promotions of Florida avocados.
Grower-shippers say retailers should expect strong volume through August and into September.
Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead, Fla., estimates late July volume is 30% higher than normal.
“The high prices and shortage of hass avocados have really stimulated our retailers to sell more of the Florida fruit,” he said in late July. “We are having really good retail support this season. The whole season has been going great.”
Brindle said Brooks, which typically packs about half of the south Florida green-skinned avocado deal, plans to ship promotable volume through the end of August. While the season’s peak is expected to hit is normal time, Brindle said volume is stronger this year.
For the week of July 18, Brooks packed 57,000 bushels and expects to pack 60,000 bushels the last week of July. That compares to the last big crop south Florida experienced in 2008 when Brooks’ biggest week had it packing 53,000 bushels, Mary Ostlund, director of marketing, said on July 22.
Princeton, Fla.-based New Limeco LLC plans to ship peak volume through the end of September.
Eddie Caram, general manager, said the summer varieties and those that hit production in August and September should bring nice peaks as well. He said mid-August should bring the largest shipping peak.
“Buyers should expect longer periods of volume and more promotions,” Caram said in late July. “The fruit is very clean. Because it’s been dry until a couple of weeks ago, the fruit was kind of small but it’s starting to size up nicely. The lower water level has kept the fruit at premium sizes.”
While sizings vary by variety, Caram said fruit is peaking in the 9-12 range, among the more popular sizes at retail.
In late July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for cartons of one-layer flats: $7 for 8-9s and $6.50 for 10-12s.
That compares to last season when 8-9s sold for $6 with 10-12s fetching $6.50-7.
Florida growers expect to pack 1.2 million bushels, 40% larger than last season’s 855,528 bushels, Brindle said. The growing region shipped 914,140 bushels in 2009-2010.
While Florida’s production usually starts in light volume in late May and early June, volume picks up and hits peak in late summer. Shipments usually run through January.
New Limeco expects to ship up to 275,000 bushels this season.