From South of the border in Baja California to just above the U.S., Mexican border and then up north in the San Joaquin Valley, good volume tomato shipments are coming soon.
Although Baja California tomato shipments have been under way since April, the seasonal increase in volume of Mexican tomatoes crossing the U.S. border at Otay Mesa, CA has just started.
August is typically a slower month, primarily since growers don’t plant as much because there will be homegrown garden tomatoes and regional production in the summer. When those summer tomatoes start fading, the larger commercial farmers come back for a fall season.
Everything from conventional and organic roma tomatoes as well as heirloom tomatoes and organic round tomatoes from Baja California started in June.
Higher volume shipments from this area south of San Diego in Mexico will ramp up in mid-October and continue into mid-January.
California Tomato Shipments
Meanwhile, shipments are also is underway north of the U.S. Mexican border.
West Coast Tomato Growers LLC, of Oceanside, CA, started shipping romas and round tomatoes in July, and supplies are expected to last into November. The company has increased its roma production 50 percent this season.
A decade ago, there were a handful of tomato growers in San Diego County, but now West Coast is the lone survivor. A primary reason is land values for home and commercial real estate, combined with the increase in Baja production. Labor and production costs also are cheaper south of the border.
Although the Baja California tomato farming production continues to increase, there is competition from California’s San Joaquin Valley. The valley has bee shipping tomatoes since the second week of June and will continue until the first week of November.
Hot summer weather in northern California led to below-average yields and some quality issues, but by September more favorable weather is expected that should result in better volume and quality out of northern California.
Northern California tomatoes – grossing about $4000 to Chicago.