Southern Mexico honeydew production should begin by mid-December, according to Nogales, Ariz.-based Shipley Sales Service.

Early volumes are likely to go primarily to the domestic market in Mexico and for direct export to Asia as supplies from the north remain high for the short term.

“We do bring some honeydews here right off the bat in the first few days in certain sizes,” said owner Bob Shipley. “But sometimes northern Mexico supplies have lingered for a good part of December.”

Export markets

China and Japan are important export destinations for Shipley Sales Service. The paperwork and scheduling are done from Nogales in coordination with its Mexico office.

“(Asia) is a steady market with established customers who have their orders,” Shipley said.

“It’s a steady outlet for us so we don’t have to bring every last box up here and slug it out with the customers here.”

U.S. and Canadian markets can get overwhelmed at times by northern Mexico melons, he said.

But once any bottleneck is cleared, the shipper will have Mexican honeydews available for seven months, Shipley said.

“Our main competitor is Central America,” he said.

“They start before Thanksgiving and we start after. Come January, northern Mexico is out of the picture as cold weather comes in.”