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I Love Produce says 2015 North American garlic market will be very strong

Garlic consumption has quadrupled in the United States since 1980, and now it stands at two-and-a-half pounds per capita — and demand continues to grow annually.

In years of normal weather patterns, around 24,000 to 26,000 acres of garlic are planted in the United States, with the strongest concentration in California.

SpainI Love Produce’s peeled Spanish garlic in individual stackable five-pound units with handles.The United States is the largest importer of garlic, primarily from China, Argentina, Mexico and Spain. This year, due to the drought and moisture problems during harvesting in California, a rise in imports is a realistic scenario.

“Demand for California garlic is going to be very strong,” said Jim Provost, owner of I Love Produce in Kelton, PA. “The crop is reduced in 2015 versus 2014 due to a combination of reasons, including the weather and seed. In the Northern Hemisphere — in addition to California — China and Spain are major garlic producers.

“China’s acreage was reduced by about 10 percent for 2015, but due to increased production yields, the crop looks to be about average in size,” he continued. “Spain has a good quality crop for 2015, although its overall production has declined compared to 2014, and some areas did receive some rain damage.”

He pointed out that the overall garlic market in North America will be strong, in part because of decreased yields in California and also because of U.S. Customs & Border Protection enforcement efforts on Chinese garlic.

“With garlic demand growing year over year, with this year being no exception, North America will keep a strong market in 2015,” noted Provost. “The main variable on pricing will be the amount of Chinese garlic that comes into the U.S. market. If Chinese shippers don’t over-ship to the market, prices will remain stable.”

Provost added that Spanish garlic will be an important part of I Love Produce’s 2015 program because availability of California garlic will be tight this year.

A leading distributor of garlic, ginger, pearl and Cippolini onions and sun dried tomatoes in a variety of fresh and value-added formats, I Love Produce also offers an organic line.

“We have now introduced U.S.-produced organic chopped and organic crushed garlic to our line,” Provost added.