(July 5) Markets for avocados from California, Mexico and Chile should remain strong throughout the summer, grower-shippers predict.

Following California’s January freezes, some growers were worried about supply shortages this summer. But the Golden State crop survived better than expected, and record shipments from Mexico have helped guarantee adequate supplies to meet continued strong demand, said Rob Wedin, vice president of fresh sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.

“Things are going really well,” he said. “Growers are doing well, but prices have been in a range that is good for consumers, too.”

Quality issues from the freeze cleared up sooner than many thought, Wedin said. In early July, both California and Mexico were peaking with exceptional flavor, he said.

Avi Crane, president and chief executive officer of Prime Produce International LLC, Orange, Calif., said oil levels on midsummer fruit from California and Mexico was superb. Crane said Mexico shipments to the U.S. set a record in June and he predicted they would set another one for July.

“I’m surprised so much has been packed for the U.S.,” he said. “Typically it stays in Mexico.”

Between July 2006 and July this year, 375 million pounds of Mexican avocados were shipped to the U.S., 85 million more than the year before and an all-time record, said Emiliano Escobedo, New York-based representative of APEAM, the Michoacan, Mexico, exporters association.

There will be some overlap in July between the old Mexico crop and the new-crop shipments from Mexico, Escobedo said. However, he doesn’t expect any weakening of the market.

“We’re very optimistic,” he said. “The prices have shown how confident we are as an industry.”

On July 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $37.25 for two-layer cartons of hass avocados 32s from California, up from $19.25-20.25 last year at the same time.

Crane said because of the lighter California crop, most Golden State avocados were staying in-state, with Mexico picking up the slack in the rest of the country.