Plentiful Mexican Grapes Shipments are Coming; Sweet Potato Update

A2Plentiful grape shipments crossing the border from Mexico will be starting in a few weeks, plus here’s a shipping update on sweet potatoes.

Mexican Grapes

Mexican grape shipments will get underway in late April, with peak loadings occurring between the last week of May and the third week of June.  A majority of the Mexican grapes will be crossing the border at Nogales, AZ.

The Mexican state of Caborca will come into its major production in early June, after shipping its first box in late May.  The first crop estimate is expected about April 19-20, but good volume is predicted.

This 2018 crop is expected to be similar to 2016, which yielded a normal volume of about 16 million boxes.  In Mexico in 2017, there was a record-breaking fresh grape crop of 21 million boxes exported to the U.S.  An additional 4 million boxes were sold in the domestic (Mexican) market.

Nearly all of Mexico’s table grape vineyards are in the state of Sonora.  Sonora’s three basic grape-growing regions are Hermosillo, Caborca and Guaymas.  Guaymas is the farthest south and ships the earliest Sonoran grapes. The Hermosillo growing district has production to the west of town, in the La Costa area — near the relatively warm waters of the Sea of Cortez — and to the north in Pesqueria.  Generally speaking, Caborca supplies the end of Mexico’s fast and short May-June deal. 

Sweet Potato Shipments

American sweet potato growers harvested 159,300 acres in 2017, down from 163,300 acres the previous year.  From 2010-14, that number had remained between 115,000 and 130,000 acres.  As acreage and yields have increased, farmers have seen lower markets, leading one to wonder if supply isn’t finally exceeding demand.  Meanwhile, moderate volume of sweets potatoes are being shipping from North Carolina, with much lighter volume from other areas.

Louisiana Sweet Potatoes

Louisiana will continue shipping sweet potatoes into June, ranking a distant fourth in volume nationwide behind North Carolina, California and Mississippi.  Cajun country is shipping about 25 truck loads of sweet potatoes a week.  Loads are grossing about $1800 to Chicago.