California garlic shipments are just getting started and strong demand is expected to continue as consumers do more home cooking and seek to boost immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christopher Ranch of Gilroy, CA is now shipping with its early garlic, which is the heirloom garlic variety, Lerg, that is slightly milder than the company’s late garlic proprietary heirloom, the Monviso variety.
This year’s California garlic shipments could hit about 100 million pounds, with 15 million pounds of early garlic and 85 million of late garlic.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of foodservice outlets in March, Christopher Ranch’s garlic shipments were split pretty evenly between foodservice and retail.
The company reports its peeled garlic for foodservice shipments basically went to zero the week of the first shelter-in-place. It required major adjustments as business suddenly included mostly retailers. Still, demand was described as “stratospheric.”
While Christopher Ranch had planned to carry 100 percent U.S.-grown garlic for the 2019-20 marketing season, increased demand in recent months required the grower/shipper to import about a third of its garlic mostly from Mexico and Argentina.
I Love Produce of Kelton, PA reports strong shipments during the COVID-19 pandemic for people seeking to boost immunity and cook at home. The company imports Chinese garlic and ginger.
The company report during the months of January and February roughly when China was shut down (because of COVID-19), that is when that spike in demand started. China is now shipping garlic at close to normal levels.
I Love Produce sees with new crop supply of garlic on tap from California, Spain and China, expanding supplies may take some of the pressure off tight supplies.