As the Peruvian deal gives way to Mexico, asparagus importers and shippers look forward to brisk movement of promotable supplies.

Promotable asparagus volumes expected from Mexico

South Hackensack, N.J.-based Maurice A. Auerbach Inc. received its final shipment of Peruvian asparagus at the end of January, said Paul Auerbach, the company’s president.

Auerbach’s 2009-10 Peruvian deal was its biggest ever, Auerbach said. It overlapped the beginning of the company’s Baja California deal by about three weeks, he said.

Early projections suggested a larger crop out of Baja, also, Auerbach said, though a cold and rainy January there could cut into volumes.

“Demand is pretty good right now, not great,” Auerbach said. “The weather doesn’t help.”

On the other side of the country, James Paul, salesman at Greg Paul Produce, Stockton, Calif., and Altar Produce LLC, Calexico, Calif., reported “excellent” demand in early February.

On Feb. 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $34.75-36.75, up from $28.75-30.75 last year at the same time.

“Supplies here are steady, coming on board as expected, and we expect very big ads the next couple of weeks with the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day,” Paul said Feb. 2.

Supplies for Altar Produce from the Caborca region of Mexico are expected to ramp up in late February and early March. And while prices will likely come down as a result, the early February demand indicated they wouldn’t “decline dramatically,” Paul said.

California supplies for Greg Paul Produce will likely begin the first or second week of March, Paul said.

Auerbach expects to ship from Baja until about mid-March, when the Northern California deal begins. Unlike Peru and Baja, Northern California and the domestic deal that follows it are not expected to be up in volume, he said.

“Every year Northern California loses a little acreage,” he said. “Both Northern California and Washington have lost significant acreage. It will be interesting to see.”

A new player in the asparagus deal, Escondido, Calif.-based Giumarra Borquez LLC, began bringing in asparagus from the Caborca region of Mexico in January, according to a company news release.

The company, created in July, is a partnership between Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos. and  Caborca-based grower Campo Pablo Borquez.

The company expects to ship from Chile, Peru and California in addition to Mexico, with year-round coverage expected.

“We’re excited to begin shipping high-quality product in good volume out of this region through May,” Bruce Dowhan, Giumarra Borquez’s general manager, said in the release.