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US (GA): Late start to watermelon season

US (GA): Late start to watermelon season

Unusual weather during the growing season delayed the start of Georgia’s watermelon harvest this month. While growers typically begin harvesting fruit at the beginning of the month, growers reported delays of up to two weeks.

“Harvesting started about two weeks later than in the past,” said Greg Leger, owner of Leger and Son, Inc. He cited cold weather that delayed planting as the reason for the late start, and further delays came as a result of rain and cold temperatures throughout the Spring. In addition to delaying this year’s harvest, the weather disrupted pollination, which could result in less fruit this year.

“Volume is not going to be as heavy as it has been the last few years,” said Leger. “Volume will likely be moderate, and we’re probably not going to have fruit as large as we’ve had in the past.” Aside from that, Leger anticipates quality fruit with high sugar content.

A delayed start has brought less fruit to the market. Last week, as harvesting began, prices were higher than usual due to low volumes of fruit. While prices are usually around 17 cents per pound, noted Border Melons East’s Mark Paulk, the start of this season has brought prices closer to 22 cents per pound.

“The market is above-average right now,” said Paulk. “It’s been a slow start in Georgia.” Leger said that the slow start has made for high prices, but, more worrisome, it will likely mean that less of this year’s crop will be in stores before the Fourth of July. That could be a problem for growers because prices for watermelons typically drop after the holiday.

“Normally, Georgia is about 80 percent done with watermelons after the Fourth of July,” said Leger. “But this year, I’m looking at about 60 percent done by that time.” But Leger also noted that prices tend to drop after the holiday because the market has been saturated by that point. With volumes of fruit being slow to come in this year, he hopes summer demand will remain strong throughout the prolonged season. While the season started late, it’s also expected to last a little longer than usual, and Leger believes consumers will still buy melons as long as it’s warm out.

“It seems demand follows the weather,” said Leger, “because people like to go out and picnic when it’s nice out, and they’ll buy watermelons. So if the weather’s good, demand will be good.”

Publication date: 6/28/2013
Author: Carlos Nunez
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Watermelon supply outlook: Thin supplies

NOGALES, AZ — A year ago in December there were plenty of watermelons to ship from northern Mexico. But the fall 2014 crop has run short because two August hurricanes struck Mexico’s west coast.

“There will be a gap from now until the deal begins in Jalisco. This is projected for January,” said Chuy Lopez, president of Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc.

“I wish we had them now,” he added in a Dec. 9 interview. There was very little watermelon volume available from Hermosillo and Guaymas in December.Big-Chuy-treeMike Gerardo, Alex Lopez and Chuy Lopez stand on a landing in the Nogales, AZ, office of Big Chuy Distributors & Sons Inc.

Lopez expected that the states of Jalisco and Colima will have reduced watermelon production this winter. The watermelon business has not been very good for the last couple of years, he explained.

“In the spring — in mid-March — we will start with decent volume, running through April and May,” he said. By March 1, watermelon production will have moved back to northern Mexico.

Late this year, Big Chuy is marketing Mexican hard squash and yellow and white sweet corn. “We will be busy with those for the next couple of months,” he said. “The markets are holding right now.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

S.C. watermelon production up 64 percent over 2013

Aided by good weather, South Carolina’s 2014 watermelon crop recorded a robust gain of 64 percent over last year’s total, according to a National Watermelon Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As production ended in early August, the state had shipped almost 81 million pounds of seeded and seedless watermelons.

Georgia, usually the leading state for watermelon production, was still shipping in early August and was close to the 586 million pounds to date.SC-WATERMELON-COOPER-RIVER-Brooke Hastings Allender, South Carolina’s 2014 Watermelon Queen, and watermelon queens from four other states handed out 30,000 free watermelon samples to runners at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC, in March. North Carolina, which was winding down production Aug. 12, reported a total to date of 79 million pounds; last year’s total for the Tar Heel state was close to 102 million pounds.

Matt Cornwell, executive director of the South Carolina Watermelon Association and a marketing specialist with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, said the increased production “was welcomed by our growers, who had a bad year in 2013 when heavy rains during harvest held down production. This year’s harvest was back to normal.”

The South Carolina watermelon harvest began in early June and ended by Aug. 12, for all but two growers, who grew a second, late-harvest crop, Cornwell said. This year’s crop consisted mainly of seedless melons, roughly by a 10 to 1 margin. The Tar Heel state crop was about 85 percent seedless. Both states shipped by truck; Georgia used trucks and piggyback rail, and California used rail and trucks. The Carolinas rank in the top 10 states in the nation for producing watermelon.

Promotion events, usually featuring the South Carolina Watermelon Queen, included college and university football practices; a minor league baseball game; marathons and bridge runs; civic events such as food festivals; visits to farms, hospitals and schools; in-store promotions at Bi-Lo, Giant Foods, Lowe’s, Piggly Wiggly and Whole Foods, among others; and trade shows and news media interviews.

This year, the South Carolina Watermelon Association promoted watermelon at sporting events, with giveaways of fruit slices and signage extolling the health benefits of watermelon. The highlight of the promotions, Cornwell believes, was the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston, SC, where the association gave away 30,000 five-ounce servings of watermelon, which Cornwell calls “nature’s sports drink.”

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for watermelon is growing, and South Carolina has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are good for melons. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have watermelon on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good. Two growers experimented this year with a late-harvest crop of watermelons, and did really well, shipping into September. I expect we’ll see more growers try a second crop in 2015.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

S.C. watermelon production up 64 percent over 2013

Aided by good weather, South Carolina’s 2014 watermelon crop recorded a robust gain of 64 percent over last year’s total, according to a National Watermelon Report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As production ended in early August, the state had shipped almost 81 million pounds of seeded and seedless watermelons.

Georgia, usually the leading state for watermelon production, was still shipping in early August and was close to the 586 million pounds to date.SC-WATERMELON-COOPER-RIVER-Brooke Hastings Allender, South Carolina’s 2014 Watermelon Queen, and watermelon queens from four other states handed out 30,000 free watermelon samples to runners at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC, in March. North Carolina, which was winding down production Aug. 12, reported a total to date of 79 million pounds; last year’s total for the Tar Heel state was close to 102 million pounds.

Matt Cornwell, executive director of the South Carolina Watermelon Association and a marketing specialist with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, said the increased production “was welcomed by our growers, who had a bad year in 2013 when heavy rains during harvest held down production. This year’s harvest was back to normal.”

The South Carolina watermelon harvest began in early June and ended by Aug. 12, for all but two growers, who grew a second, late-harvest crop, Cornwell said. This year’s crop consisted mainly of seedless melons, roughly by a 10 to 1 margin. The Tar Heel state crop was about 85 percent seedless. Both states shipped by truck; Georgia used trucks and piggyback rail, and California used rail and trucks. The Carolinas rank in the top 10 states in the nation for producing watermelon.

Promotion events, usually featuring the South Carolina Watermelon Queen, included college and university football practices; a minor league baseball game; marathons and bridge runs; civic events such as food festivals; visits to farms, hospitals and schools; in-store promotions at Bi-Lo, Giant Foods, Lowe’s, Piggly Wiggly and Whole Foods, among others; and trade shows and news media interviews.

This year, the South Carolina Watermelon Association promoted watermelon at sporting events, with giveaways of fruit slices and signage extolling the health benefits of watermelon. The highlight of the promotions, Cornwell believes, was the Cooper River Bridge run in Charleston, SC, where the association gave away 30,000 five-ounce servings of watermelon, which Cornwell calls “nature’s sports drink.”

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for watermelon is growing, and South Carolina has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are good for melons. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have watermelon on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good. Two growers experimented this year with a late-harvest crop of watermelons, and did really well, shipping into September. I expect we’ll see more growers try a second crop in 2015.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US (CA): Watermelon growers deal with less water

With the state’s water woes, California’s watermelon growers have had to find a way to keep up production with dwindling water allocations. While some growers have managed to keep up good yields, others across the state have suffered by having to do with less.

“Overall, this year has been good with good yields,” said Steve Dabich, director of sales for Dulcinea Farms. “The challenge was that we knew we were going to have to use more well water, because of the water shortage, but that hasn’t hindered us at all.” Dabich said their growers were able to successfully drill for more water, and because they weren’t significantly hampered by water restrictions, they were able to get good yields.

However, growers relying on water allocations during the years when there wasn’t a drought, has led to a lack of these resources when there actually is one. Growers throughout the state have had trouble matching production from previous years because of combined weather events and a lack of water. That’s led to decreased production and increased prices. Some growers, knowing that growing watermelons would be difficult this, opted to grow other crops. That further depressed state production and has led to increased prices.

“The situation for watermelons has been less volume and higher prices,” said Barry Zwillinger of Legend Produce. “Prices in California are about 30 percent higher than normal, and that’s because growers in the state have produced fewer watermelons. Growers want to maximize their acreage, and watermelons tend to use more water, so many growers tended to grow more cantaloupes this year instead of watermelons.”

FreshPlaza.com

Watermelon Night begins and ends with watermelon; helps home team snap losing streak

CHARLESTON, SC — In a game that began and ended with watermelon, the Charleston RiverDogs snapped an eight-game losing streak July 5 at Riley Park here by defeating the Rome, GA, Braves, 9-1 in South Atlantic League action. Watermelon Night, an annual event at “The Joe,” featured the South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture; a representative of the 2014 South Carolina Watermelon Queen; a watermelon-eating contest for youngsters; the ubiquitous RiverDogs mascots, Charlie T. RiverDog and Chelsea; a South Carolina Ghostbusters performance; and watermelon slices for fans. (See more photos here)

QUEEN--MASCOTEmily Dick, presiding as the South Carolina Watermelon Queen at Watermelon Night, had a pre-game baseball discussion with the team mascot, Chelsea.The watermelon-bookended game began with Hugh E. Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture, throwing (rolling, actually) the first watermelon and ended with free watermelon slices for the crowd of about 4,600 as they left the park after the game. In between innings, a watermelon-eating contest was held with four youngsters competing and Emily Dick, the Watermelon Queen representative, kibitzed with fans.

The South Carolina Watermelon Association, which sponsored Watermelon Night, is promoting watermelon as an alternative to chemically influenced sports drinks, according to Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for watermelon with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. The association had stickers and placards touting the health benefits of watermelon on hand at the tables where fans picked up slices of watermelon as they headed home after the game.

The association will distribute watermelons at preseason football practices at the University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Clemson University and The Citadel. Earlier this year, in a massive undertaking, the group provided a cup of watermelon to each of the 40,000 runners in the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston on April 5, Cornwell told The Produce News.

A team of five workers fell into an accustomed routine and started slicing 200 watermelons during the second inning of the game to have slices on hand for the 4,600 fans as they left the park.

The association noted that watermelon keeps hydration levels high for athletes and adds more lycopene and vitamins A and C antioxidants than provided by a leading sports drink. Other research has been conducted and reports will be issued within a year. In South Carolina, one of the nation’s top 10 watermelon growers, the harvest runs from mid-June to late August, said Ann Bryant, the association’s promotions coordinator.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Tsamma watermelon juice is new on the market

In June, Keenes, IL-based Frey Farms introduced a new, high-end bottled watermelon juice branded “Tsamma” (pronounced s-amm-a). The juice is manufactured in Lakeland, FL, 30 minutes from Frey’s largest watermelon farm.

IMG 662712-ounce bottles of Tsamma watermelon juice. Hilary Martin, director of business development, told The Produce News that Tsamma is the name of a hardy melon grown in southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert, which is thought to be the ancestral mother variety of all melons.

The new beverage is 100 percent juice, has no added sugar and is made from seeded watermelons. Martin added that it is 88 percent watermelon juice, with white grape and pomegranate juice, as well as a touch of malic acid, making up the remaining 12 percent.

According to a Frey Farms press release, “Once watermelon is converted to juice the positive hydrating effects of this super food are significant.”

“I looked consistently for watermelon juice,” said Sarah Frey-Talley, founder of Frey Farms and Martin’s aunt. “Since none could be found, I decided we would create our own. We continually expand our farming operations and will ensure Tsamma juice will be available every year from January to December. Frey Farms is very excited to bring Tsamma to market. It’s such a natural extension of what we do best.”

On Oct. 26, Frey Farms will give Tsamma to participants of the Marine Corps Marathon, held in the nation’s capital. Participants will receive Tsamma watermelon juice as they cross the finish line.

“Frey Farms is one of the top watermelon shippers in the United States, providing watermelons to the country’s largest retailers, including Walmart,” according to the release.

Frey Farms produces 7,000 acres of watermelons and is one of the nation’s largest producers of pumpkins.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Tsamma watermelon juice is new on the market

In June, Keenes, IL-based Frey Farms introduced a new, high-end bottled watermelon juice branded “Tsamma” (pronounced s-amm-a). The juice is manufactured in Lakeland, FL, 30 minutes from Frey’s largest watermelon farm.

IMG 662712-ounce bottles of Tsamma watermelon juice. Hilary Martin, director of business development, told The Produce News that Tsamma is the name of a hardy melon grown in southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert, which is thought to be the ancestral mother variety of all melons.

The new beverage is 100 percent juice, has no added sugar and is made from seeded watermelons. Martin added that it is 88 percent watermelon juice, with white grape and pomegranate juice, as well as a touch of malic acid, making up the remaining 12 percent.

According to a Frey Farms press release, “Once watermelon is converted to juice the positive hydrating effects of this super food are significant.”

“I looked consistently for watermelon juice,” said Sarah Frey-Talley, founder of Frey Farms and Martin’s aunt. “Since none could be found, I decided we would create our own. We continually expand our farming operations and will ensure Tsamma juice will be available every year from January to December. Frey Farms is very excited to bring Tsamma to market. It’s such a natural extension of what we do best.”

On Oct. 26, Frey Farms will give Tsamma to participants of the Marine Corps Marathon, held in the nation’s capital. Participants will receive Tsamma watermelon juice as they cross the finish line.

“Frey Farms is one of the top watermelon shippers in the United States, providing watermelons to the country’s largest retailers, including Walmart,” according to the release.

Frey Farms produces 7,000 acres of watermelons and is one of the nation’s largest producers of pumpkins.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Delayed Texas entry only wrinkle in current watermelon deal

Jason Hanselman, industry affairs associate for the National Watermelon Promotion Board, provided The Produce News with a snapshot of watermelon movement as of mid-May. “After our tremendous start, we’re seeing production slow somewhat compared to previous years,” he said. “Traditionally, we see a large spike this time of year into the Memorial Day holiday. On the domestic side, everything is looking pretty normal other than [a] late start out of Texas, for which we’re now getting data.”WatermelonMovementOVSoil Conservationist Juan Pena of the Natural Resources Conservation Service talks with a landowner near Raymondville, TX. (Photo courtesy of Ken Hammond/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service)

The following information provides a summary of the volume of watermelons moved by region/state since May 7 in the United States: Arizona/2.18 million pounds; California/8.89 million pounds; Florida/58.4 million pounds; Guatemala/720,000 pounds; Honduras/2.1 million pounds; Mexico/92.82 million pounds; and Texas/1.47 million pounds.

The combined shipping volume since May 7 was 166.6 million pounds, down approximately 4 percent from the same date in 2013. Hanselman said, “So really the biggest reason for this recent small shortage is due to Texas just starting to get up and running a couple weeks later than usual.”

Despite the reduction in poundage, he went on to say that the industry is still seeing better-than-normal volume in primary production regions. “I think this goes to highlight how important of a region Texas is,” he said. “The encouraging thing is that a late start is something that can be overcome, assuming production is relatively normal going forward and there is still time to hit the Memorial Day window. It’s likely that this phase is merely a lull, and that soon the country will be awash in watermelon as most other regions are showing strong starts to the year.”

Watermelon prices are showing a slight upward trend. “Usually this time of year sees only decline or leveling off. So it’s an encouraging sign that prices are ticking up with production only down slightly,” he noted. “This should give us a strong indication that demand is very solid right now, and as production continues to thrive this should be a good indication that prices should stay with it barring a ridiculous over-supply situation.”

According to Hanselman, “The price increase is almost solely due to the lower-end prices dropping out for the most part with heavy concentration around $ 0.20 per pound. Prices seem to be in a good place, which bodes well going forward.”

Stephanie Barlow, director of public relations and social media for the National Watermelon Promotion Board, said she met with growers in Gainesville, FL, in mid-April during a training session and asked them for their insights about the Florida watermelon season. “Harsh winter weather only minimally affected the Florida crop,” she was told. “The growers had a positive outlook.”

Shipments out of north Florida were set back by a few weeks, but Barlow said production is now in full swing. “[Central] Florida is shipping on time,” she added. Shipments out of south Florida began in late April.

Florida growers will begin harvesting their second crop in late October, and production will continue into December.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Delayed Texas entry only wrinkle in current watermelon deal

Jason Hanselman, industry affairs associate for the National Watermelon Promotion Board, provided The Produce News with a snapshot of watermelon movement as of mid-May. “After our tremendous start, we’re seeing production slow somewhat compared to previous years,” he said. “Traditionally, we see a large spike this time of year into the Memorial Day holiday. On the domestic side, everything is looking pretty normal other than [a] late start out of Texas, for which we’re now getting data.”WatermelonMovementOVSoil Conservationist Juan Pena of the Natural Resources Conservation Service talks with a landowner near Raymondville, TX. (Photo courtesy of Ken Hammond/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service)

The following information provides a summary of the volume of watermelons moved by region/state since May 7 in the United States: Arizona/2.18 million pounds; California/8.89 million pounds; Florida/58.4 million pounds; Guatemala/720,000 pounds; Honduras/2.1 million pounds; Mexico/92.82 million pounds; and Texas/1.47 million pounds.

The combined shipping volume since May 7 was 166.6 million pounds, down approximately 4 percent from the same date in 2013. Hanselman said, “So really the biggest reason for this recent small shortage is due to Texas just starting to get up and running a couple weeks later than usual.”

Despite the reduction in poundage, he went on to say that the industry is still seeing better-than-normal volume in primary production regions. “I think this goes to highlight how important of a region Texas is,” he said. “The encouraging thing is that a late start is something that can be overcome, assuming production is relatively normal going forward and there is still time to hit the Memorial Day window. It’s likely that this phase is merely a lull, and that soon the country will be awash in watermelon as most other regions are showing strong starts to the year.”

Watermelon prices are showing a slight upward trend. “Usually this time of year sees only decline or leveling off. So it’s an encouraging sign that prices are ticking up with production only down slightly,” he noted. “This should give us a strong indication that demand is very solid right now, and as production continues to thrive this should be a good indication that prices should stay with it barring a ridiculous over-supply situation.”

According to Hanselman, “The price increase is almost solely due to the lower-end prices dropping out for the most part with heavy concentration around $ 0.20 per pound. Prices seem to be in a good place, which bodes well going forward.”

Stephanie Barlow, director of public relations and social media for the National Watermelon Promotion Board, said she met with growers in Gainesville, FL, in mid-April during a training session and asked them for their insights about the Florida watermelon season. “Harsh winter weather only minimally affected the Florida crop,” she was told. “The growers had a positive outlook.”

Shipments out of north Florida were set back by a few weeks, but Barlow said production is now in full swing. “[Central] Florida is shipping on time,” she added. Shipments out of south Florida began in late April.

Florida growers will begin harvesting their second crop in late October, and production will continue into December.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

National Watermelon Association rolls out industry-branded bin for retail display

Working with a handful of growers and shippers, two major paper manufacturers and the National Watermelon Promotions Board, the National Watermelon Association has created a new bin that it hopes will gain traction at retail as the primary vehicle to represent the watermelon industry.WtrmlnBinCHEP-2

NWA calls the new bin a “marketing vehicle that will sell more watermelons at retail.”

The current retail point-of-purchase landscape is fractured, with shippers and other suppliers utilizing their own bins or generic versions created for the industry. The new bin will provide a consolidated approach that the NWA believes will let consumers know they have found what they are looking for.

“With over 200 different [bins] in use currently within our own industry, it is vital for us to come together as much as possible to create a brand awareness,” NWA Executive Director Bob Morrissey told The Produce News. “Our mantra moving through the graphics portion of the project was — and is — to make watermelon the hero. The graphics alone will sell more watermelons, and that is what we desire in this process, along with reducing inventories, SKUs and costs.”

Morrissey said the NWA approached the design of the new bin with very specific goals in mind:

  • Create a bin that will sell more watermelons. 
  • Eliminate the clutter of wording and logos.
  • Make a single, common file available to all paper companies and shippers.
  • Minimize SKUs nationally to reduce costs.
  • Create a national marketing footprint at retail.

The new pre-print bin is now available for the summer 2014 season. The NWA is encouraging all shippers, retailers and paper manufacturers to use the new bin as a replacement for any other bins. NWA makes clear this is not a bin designed simply to become another SKU.

NWA believes the final version of the bin will reduce costs, increase sales and create a national presence at retail. But there were other viable candidates considered and some of those will get another look in the future.

“There were a number of variations that the development group looked at, which led to this one selection,” Morrissey said. “Our plan moving forward is to review it annually, and tweak it as necessary to stay current while striving to appeal to consumers. Recognition at retail is the priority.”  

The new bin is another example of the work NWA does for its members, from lobbying on Capitol Hill to coordinating the annual Watermelon Queen competition.

“We want to end each day knowing that we have done something for the better good of our members,” Morrissey said. “The corrugated bin initiative is one of those achievements where we will be able to see concrete results and know that we have contributed to the success of our members and the crop industry. Once we begin to see the build of these watermelon bins at retail in the thousands, we will be pleased. The heavy lifting is just beginning at the selling side to gain acceptance. The future looks very bright and watermelon will be the hero.” 

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US (FL): Watermelon season off to good start

A couple of weeks into the Florida watermelon season, quality has been looking good, according to the state’s growers.

“Quality is excellent, sugars are high and internal quality is really good,” said Jim Barfield, President of the Florida Watermelon Association and grower with Wolf Island in Immokalee, Florida. He credited good weather throughout the growing season and into the first part of harvesting for this year’s good quality. So early in the season, though, Barfield noted that it’s hard to tell how volume of fruit will play out this year. Demand, especially coming off of a cold winter in northeastern markets, is looking good.

“Demand has been good,” said Barfield. “I think it has to do with weather, and Easter probably has something to do with it as well.” Prices, though not extremely high, have been okay, according to Barfield.

“We started harvesting the last week of March and there will probably be watermelons from Florida into June,” he said. “We’ve started out really good, and we’re happy with the season.”

For more information:

Jim Barfield

Florida Watermelon Association

+1 239 658 1442

FreshPlaza.com

April watermelon movement higher than last season

On April 8, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on daily shipments and crossings in the United States for watermelons for the first week of April. The report broke down movement for seeded and seedless watermelon and also provided some data on imports. Units are comprised of a total of 40,000 pounds each.

This season, a total of 7,154 units were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida.CrosdfpOVThis season, a total of 7,154 units of watermelon were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida. Countries exporting watermelons to the United States were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. This figure compares to 7,555 units imported at the same time last season. Of this total, 30 units were during the first week of April. This volume represents an increase over the 16 units moved during the same time frame in 2013.

AMS reported 74 units of seeded watermelons entered the United States at Nogales, AZ, during the first week of April. Guatemala exported 94 containers of seedless watermelons during the first week of April. Volume of seedless watermelons from Honduras was 94 units, and Mexico exported 9,699 units for that same week.

Florida districts had moved 49 units of seeded watermelons by truck as of April 7, surpassing the 15 units moved from Florida at the same time during 2013. Florida also moved another 107 units of seedless watermelons, an increase over the 55 units moved at the same time in 2013.

Weather has been a factor during the 2014 domestic growing season. Matt Solana, vice president of operations/supply chain with Jackson Farming Co., said rainy conditions made it difficult for growers to get into the field and get soil prepared in North Florida and Georgia.

Jackson Farming expected production to begin in Sarasota, FL, at the beginning of May. Production in McAlpin, FL was anticipated to begin in June. Soldana said retailers could expect good volume for the July 4 holiday coming from Florida and Georgia.  Watermelons are also produced in Autryville, NC, with production beginning around July 4 and running through September.

If dry, sunny days are coupled with some occasional rain showers, Soldana expects a good season in 2014.

The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provided some historic data about the dynamics of watermelon production during 2012. “U.S. watermelon production in 2012 totaled more than 39 million hundredweight, up from 2011,” the center stated. “The value of fresh market watermelons that year was nearly $ 520.8 billion, also up from the previous year.”

According to AgMRC, Florida and Georgia led in domestic production followed by California and Texas.

Most watermelon is consumed fresh, and AgMRC noted that per capita consumption was 15.5 pounds in 2010. “About 85 percent of watermelons are purchased at the retail level for home consumption,” the center stated in its report. “Other processed products include roasted seeds, pickled rind and watermelon juice.”

On June 28, 2012, USDA’s Economic Research Service issued its Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, further discussing production and consumption trends. According to ERS, the United States ranked fifth among the world’s top watermelon producers. “Over the past 10 years, watermelon was consistently the third-most-produced [commodity] by weight for the fresh market in the United States, behind onions and head lettuce,” the report stated. “Between 1990 and 2010, while the number of acres harvested contracted 3.5 percent, production rose 29 percent to a record high of 4.1 billion pounds.”

Data concerning seeded vs. seedless varieties is revealing. “In the past decade, the share of seedless watermelon of total U.S. watermelon shipments jumped from 51 percent in 2003 to 83 percent in 2011,” the report stated. “Rising demand for watermelon has been mostly due to the production of varieties that are seedless or are smaller in size combined with increased marketing of pre-cut half or quarter-melons, offering value-added convenience to consumers.”

And consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with the nutritional qualities associated with watermelon consumption. “As watermelon is 92 percent water, many people eat it to help quench their thirst,” ERS wrote. “Watermelon juice is even now available at some retailers. Lycopene, found in other produce such as tomatoes, is present in watermelon at higher concentrations than any other fruit or vegetable and is believed to reduce the risk for heart disease and some cancers.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

April watermelon movement higher than last season

On April 8, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on daily shipments and crossings in the United States for watermelons for the first week of April. The report broke down movement for seeded and seedless watermelon and also provided some data on imports. Units are comprised of a total of 40,000 pounds each.

This season, a total of 7,154 units were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida.CrosdfpOVThis season, a total of 7,154 units of watermelon were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida. Countries exporting watermelons to the United States were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. This figure compares to 7,555 units imported at the same time last season. Of this total, 30 units were during the first week of April. This volume represents an increase over the 16 units moved during the same time frame in 2013.

AMS reported 74 units of seeded watermelons entered the United States at Nogales, AZ, during the first week of April. Guatemala exported 94 containers of seedless watermelons during the first week of April. Volume of seedless watermelons from Honduras was 94 units, and Mexico exported 9,699 units for that same week.

Florida districts had moved 49 units of seeded watermelons by truck as of April 7, surpassing the 15 units moved from Florida at the same time during 2013. Florida also moved another 107 units of seedless watermelons, an increase over the 55 units moved at the same time in 2013.

Weather has been a factor during the 2014 domestic growing season. Matt Solana, vice president of operations/supply chain with Jackson Farming Co., said rainy conditions made it difficult for growers to get into the field and get soil prepared in North Florida and Georgia.

Jackson Farming expected production to begin in Sarasota, FL, at the beginning of May. Production in McAlpin, FL was anticipated to begin in June. Soldana said retailers could expect good volume for the July 4 holiday coming from Florida and Georgia.  Watermelons are also produced in Autryville, NC, with production beginning around July 4 and running through September.

If dry, sunny days are coupled with some occasional rain showers, Soldana expects a good season in 2014.

The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provided some historic data about the dynamics of watermelon production during 2012. “U.S. watermelon production in 2012 totaled more than 39 million hundredweight, up from 2011,” the center stated. “The value of fresh market watermelons that year was nearly $ 520.8 billion, also up from the previous year.”

According to AgMRC, Florida and Georgia led in domestic production followed by California and Texas.

Most watermelon is consumed fresh, and AgMRC noted that per capita consumption was 15.5 pounds in 2010. “About 85 percent of watermelons are purchased at the retail level for home consumption,” the center stated in its report. “Other processed products include roasted seeds, pickled rind and watermelon juice.”

On June 28, 2012, USDA’s Economic Research Service issued its Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, further discussing production and consumption trends. According to ERS, the United States ranked fifth among the world’s top watermelon producers. “Over the past 10 years, watermelon was consistently the third-most-produced [commodity] by weight for the fresh market in the United States, behind onions and head lettuce,” the report stated. “Between 1990 and 2010, while the number of acres harvested contracted 3.5 percent, production rose 29 percent to a record high of 4.1 billion pounds.”

Data concerning seeded vs. seedless varieties is revealing. “In the past decade, the share of seedless watermelon of total U.S. watermelon shipments jumped from 51 percent in 2003 to 83 percent in 2011,” the report stated. “Rising demand for watermelon has been mostly due to the production of varieties that are seedless or are smaller in size combined with increased marketing of pre-cut half or quarter-melons, offering value-added convenience to consumers.”

And consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with the nutritional qualities associated with watermelon consumption. “As watermelon is 92 percent water, many people eat it to help quench their thirst,” ERS wrote. “Watermelon juice is even now available at some retailers. Lycopene, found in other produce such as tomatoes, is present in watermelon at higher concentrations than any other fruit or vegetable and is believed to reduce the risk for heart disease and some cancers.”

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Nogales watermelon shippers say timing good for Easter promotions

RIO RICO, AZ — As the Nogales vegetable deal winds down for the season, shippers who handle watermelons from south of the border are gearing up for good volume to meet Easter promotions.

Mike Smith, president of Sigma Sales Inc., based here, said the Mexican watermelon deal is “very early” for all shippers.

Smith said March 26 that Sigma had just begun shipping “and we’ll increase our volume next week.” Given the early and large crop, combined with an April 20 Easter that is late on the 2014 calendar, Mike-Smith-SigmaMike Smith, president of Sigma Sales Inc.“Easter will be a great time to push watermelons if anyone wants to get aggressive,” he said. “We will get aggressive with pricing off the bat.”

The Mexican vegetable volume for Nogales-area distributors is on its seasonal decline, but “fruit is coming on for the season and we should have a good run,” said Smith. “The quality is great.”

Mexican growers enjoyed a mild winter “and they already have some good quality” on watermelons, he said, adding that April and May will bring strong watermelon volume for North American customers. Seedless and mini-watermelons will both be in strong supply.

Honeydew melons from Mexico are to begin about April 10, Smith said. Honeydew from northern Mexico is expected to run into early June.

Jorge Quintero Jr., managing partner at Grower Alliance LLC, another Rio Rico distributor, said his melon season will begin March 31, with fruit from Guaymas and Hermosillo.

“We hear, and it’s true, that all the fields are starting a lot earlier than normal,” said Quintero. “Mid-April is normal. But people have already started or they’re getting ready to start, like us.”

Smith and Quintero both noted that miserable winter markets have significantly hurt sales this winter.

But with spring weather destined to arrive soon, combined with the late Easter, it’s a good time to promote watermelons.

Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Ciruli Bros. LLC in Rio Rico, also indicated March 26 that mango volume will be very strong for Easter promotions.

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Giumarra increase watermelon tonnage in Mexico

Giumarra increase watermelon tonnage in Mexico

Giumarra Nogales is currently shipping its West Mexico watermelon program and kicked off the spring season three weeks earlier than last year.

The early time frame is attributed to earlier transplanting, improved growing practices, and ideal weather conditions. John Corsaro, Gil Munguia, Cesar Pacheco, and Scott Ross of Giumarra recently visited the company’s grower partner ranches in Sonora to assess the crop.

“These are some of the nicest quality fields I’ve seen, with excellent size, clean fruit, and great tonnage,” says Corsaro, CEO of the Giumarra Companies.

In describing the harvest pattern, Cesar Pacheco mentions the success Giumarra Nogales has had in filling its watermelon gap by trialling watermelon crops in different areas of Mexico outside of its normal production in Sonora. The company now produces watermelons in the Mexican states of Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Colima, and Michoacán.

“We will have a slight overlap as we transition out of the fruit from southern Mexico. Our Sonoran program starts just south of Guaymas and progresses northward as we work our way to Hermosillo,” says Pacheco, Sales Manager of Giumarra Nogales.

Giumarra Nogales is well positioned to service customers with excellent quality and volume throughout June, and can offer Fair Trade Certified™ watermelons to customers who are interested. The program markets the certified watermelon for a slight premium, with labelling and point-of-sale materials to let consumers know their purchase is directly benefiting farm workers.

“Our grower is deeply invested in the Fair Trade program and for two years, has used it to complement the excellent social responsibility principles already in place at his ranches,” says Gil Munguia, Division Manager of Giumarra Nogales. “We hope to see more customers interested in the program in the future as they realize the value of connecting with consumers in this way.”

For more information:
Megan Schulz
The Giumarra Companies
Tel: +1 213.627.2900
Fax: +1 213.628.4878
Email: [email protected]
www.giumarra.com

 

Publication date: 3/18/2014


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Giumarra increases watermelon tonnage in mexico

Giumarra Nogales is currently shipping its west Mexico watermelon program and kicked off the spring season three weeks earlier than last year.

The early time frame is attributed to earlier transplanting, improved growing practices and ideal weather conditions.

“These are some of the nicest quality fields I’ve seen, with excellent size, clean fruit and great tonnage,” John Corsaro, chief executive officer of the Giumarra Cos., watermelons2Cesar Pacheco, sales manager of Giumarra Nogales, overlooks the watermelon fields in Hermosillo with Giumarra’s grower partner.said after a recent visit to the company’s grower-partner ranches in Sonora to assess the crop. Also on the trip were Gil Munguia, division manager of Giumarra Nogales; Cesar Pacheco, sales manager of Giumarra Nogales; and Scott Ross, East Coast business manager for the Giumarra Cos.

In describing the harvest pattern, Pacheco noted the success Giumarra Nogales has had in filling its watermelon gap by trialing watermelon crops in different areas of Mexico outside of its normal production in Sonora. The company now produces watermelons in the Mexican states of Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Colima and Michoacán.

“We will have a slight overlap as we transition out of the fruit from southern Mexico,” Pacheco said in the release. “Our Sonoran program starts just south of Guaymas and progresses northward as we work our way to Hermosillo.”

Giumarra Nogales is well-positioned to service customers with excellent quality and volume throughout June, and it can offer Fair Trade Certified watermelons to customers who are interested. The program markets the certified watermelon for a slight premium, with labeling and point-of-sale materials to let consumers know their purchase is directly benefitting farm workers.

“Our grower is deeply invested in the Fair Trade program and for two years has used it to complement the excellent social responsibility principles already in place at his ranches,” Munguia said in the release. “We hope to see more customers interested in the program in the future as they realize the value of connecting with consumers in this way.”

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Honduras: Melon and watermelon exports to USA, EU and Asia total $47 million

By the end of the third quarter
Honduras: Melon and watermelon exports to USA, EU and Asia total $ 47 million

Melon and watermelon exports to the US, European and Asian markets amounted $ 47 million dollars by the end of the third quarter, according to a report issued by the Central Bank of Honduras (BCH).

Honduras has become the leading exporter of watermelons, due to a modernization process that has improved the fruit’s quality compared to traditional crops.

The goal is to exceed shipments in 2012, when 5,700 containers were exported with a value of $ 14,000 each.

Honduras also exports this product to France, Holland, Belgium, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

This agribusiness also generated 25,000 direct and 45,000 indirect jobs in two seasons.

The expectation is that historic harvests will be reached, driven by an agreement between the Senasa and agricultural exporters, which will allow melon farms to have greater phytosanitary surveillance.

Source: Latribuna.hn

Publication date: 10/4/2013


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Spain: Melon and watermelon prices fall below production costs

Spain: Melon and watermelon prices fall below production costs

Although melon and watermelon prices did not start off as high as expected with the transition from Murcia’s production to that of Castile-La Mancha, they reached up to 0.55/0.60 Euro per kilo, remaining stable until mid-August, “when they started falling until they dropped even below production costs,” explains José Luís Agudo, manager of Agrícola JJF. “The early varieties suffered delays and overlapped with the late ones, concentrating excessive supply volumes in a time period when most people were on holidays. It would be very odd if prices were to go up again.”

Based in the town of Llanos de Caudillo, in Castile-La Mancha, Spain, Agrícola JJF is specialised in the production of Piel de Sapo melons, particularly of the Sancho variety, and black seedless watermelon of the Style variety.

“The Sancho is possibly one of the tastiest and highest quality melons, although its handicap is its low yield compared to other varieties, as well as the complexities behind its cultivation process. We are currently one of the few companies which still produce Sancho, as we have specific clients for this melon,” explains José Luís.

This year, just like in Almeria and Murcia, calibres were smaller than usual, although in Castile-La Mancha’s case, melons tend to reach superior calibres as the season progresses, normally ending up being too large. “La Mancha’s melons are generally characterised by being excessively large, which generates problems during the processing and packing stages, hence losing also commercial competitiveness. Because of this, in my opinion, producers should increase the ratio of plants per square metre, or else irrigate with lower amounts of water.”

Still 15 days of the melon campaign and 8 days of the watermelon season remain, which will continue to be distributed in Spain as well as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France, under the brands DE LLANOS and AGRICOLA JJF.

Although Agrícola JJF established itself as a limited liability company just 3 years ago, they have more than 40 years’ experience in the cultivation of these summer fruits. “Our most immediate goal is to be able to commercialise 100% of our production. Furthermore, once the investments in machinery are made, we would also like to make our facilities more profitable during the winter months, due to which we are studying the possibility to include new fruits or vegetables. For now, we have started testing it with pumpkins and onions,” stated José Luís.

Agrícola JJF will again be an exhibitor at the next edition of Fruit Attraction, to take place in Madrid during 16, 17 and 18 October. You can find them at stand 7C05E.

 

More information:
José Luís
Agricola JJF S.L.
Llanos del Caudillo, (Ciudad Real). Spain
T: +34 696 970 003
inf[email protected]
www.agricolajjf.com

Publication date: 9/10/2013


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