Increased competition for domestic lemon growers and shippers is coming from other countries who are supplying more product to North America.
Salix Fruits LLC of Canton, GA reports for the first time, Turkey is becoming an important player in the North American lemon market. The fruit importer/exporter specializing in citrus notes the only fruit available in the U.S. during the northern hemisphere season was California. However, imported lemons from Spain got underway about five years ago. Now, Salix Fruits also is importing lemons from Turkey.
U.S. lemon shipments and supplies have been better this season than expected.
Spain also has a good crop as well as Turkey. But Turkey has seen rain recently, slowing imports down a little bit as its season comes to a close in mid February. Spain has a longer season because they have another variety called Verna. But that variety needs cold treatment for entering the U.S.” Depending on the year, the Spanish season can go until April/May.
With this amount of product in the market, prices are competitive and lower than last year. “Prices are about 10-15 percent lower than last year,” says Elortondo. “It’s competitive and demand is stable for lemons. It’s not like Persian limes for example, which have more seasonality because they’re also used for cocktails and during the summertime. Lemons have regular demand throughout the year.”
Availability of imported lemons in the U.S., like with many other commodities, has become very consistent throughout the year. Once the northern hemisphere seasons are over, Chile comes into the picture, and last year, Argentina was allowed to enter the U.S.
The first year many U.S. importers were cautious with Argentina and limited the number of loads they imported. However, good quality was reported with competitive prices, so heavier volumes are anticipated this next season, which will start in April. Turkey is expected to be a key player during the spring and summer months.