(UPDATED COVERAGE, 4:28 p.m.) The Mexican mango deal got off to a slower start this season, but Central America will still be in the mix heading into spring.

Mexican mango volumes will likely break another record in 2013, but in February the deal was getting off to a slow start, said Chris Ciruli, partner in Nogales, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros.

“From what we’re hearing, there aren’t huge volumes of early fruit,” Ciruli said. “The numbers will increase later in the deal.”

Ciruli is still confident that the Mexican mango deal will continue on its trajectory of 10-15% annual growth and set another record in 2013.

Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce began importing mangoes from Nicaragua the week of Feb. 18 and expected to begin its Mexican deal the week of March 4 and its Guatemalan harvest the week of March 11, said Sabine Henry, saleswoman.

The company should wind down its Peruvian mango deal by mid-March, Henry said.

Large-sized fruit from Central America should complement smaller fruit from Mexico, she said.

Nicaraguan shipments got off to a good start with strong markets, Henry said. By about the second or third week of March, markets should start to weaken, however, she said.

On Feb. 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $6-6.50 for one layer flats of Mexican tommy atkinses 6-10s, comparable to last year at the same time. Flats of Mexican ataulfos 12s were $9, up from $8-9 last year.

Kent shipments from Peru were scheduled to continue through the middle of March, said William Watson, executive director of the Orlando-based National Mango Board.

Peru is expected to ship about 9 million boxes to the U.S. this season, up from 6 million boxes last year, Watson said.

Tommy aktkins and ataulfos from southern Mexico were arriving in the U.S. in late February, Watson said.

“We anticipate a strong season from Mexico and look to see their mangoes in the marketplace through September,” he said.

Mexican mango supplies should be steady the week of Feb. 25 and should gradually increase the week of March 4, with some promotions likely, said Mario Cardenas, salesman for Nogales-based Farmer’s Best International.

“There are reports that the first bloom has some staining issues in the fruit, but the second bloom is right around the corner and is said to be very clean,” Cardenas said.

Demand was fair in late February, he said, but with more fruit coming in and the weather warming up, he expected the market to stabilize and demand to increase.

Volumes will be promotable but moderate through April, Ciruli said. In May, greater volumes from Mexico will begin arriving, when the Nayarit region comes into production, he said.

A down year last season in Nayarit should mean heavy volumes from the region in 2013, he said.

Sizes were smaller than last year in late February, with fruit peaking on 18s and 20s, Ciruli said. The quality and appearance were excellent, however.

“It’s quite a bit cleaner than last year, and eating very well.”