NOGALES, Ariz. — The 2010-11 west Mexico season looks promising for cucumbers, the third most popular produce item to cross through the Nogales port of entry last season with 65,237 10,000-pound units, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Nogales location of Raleigh, N.C.-based L&M Cos., received its first cucumbers from west Mexico in late October and should continue to offer them until May, said Gil Munguia, operations manager and sales manager.


Rain in mid-October slowed picking briefly, but Munguia expects good supplies for the remainder of the season, weather permitting.


Quality of pole cucumbers and shade house cucumbers from Culiacan, Sinaloa, and Baja California was excellent, he said.


The market started off well, with Super Select grade cucumbers going for $20.95 for 1 1/9-bushel cartons, but prices likely will decline somewhat and stabilize as volume increases, he said.


Fresh Farms in Rio Rico probably will triple its cucumber volume this season, said Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing.


“We’ve made a big commitment to cucumbers,” he said.


Cucumbers fit in well with the squash and other products the company’s customers prefer, he said.


Fresh Farms’ family of growers is experienced in cucumbers, he said, adding, “It’s the next step in our growth.


Havel expects to be into the market heavily through the first of the year, with a small gap in January and much of February but coming back strong in spring.


Next year, the company should experience no gaps and will market cucumbers continuously from October to May, he said.


Fresh Farms offers field-grown pole cucumbers as well as shade house product.


“So far, we’re very pleased with how they look,” he said in late October, “and I know they’ll only get better as the nights get cooler in Mexico and bring out a little more color.”


SCS Fresh LLC also received its first cucumbers in late October and should have them until mid-January, said owner Sergio Chamberlain.


Early production was running about 10 days behind schedule, but Chamberlain said there were no reports of pests or disease and quality should be good this season.