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Mission to rely on multiple origins for summer avocados

By
Tim Linden

Though Mission Produce is one of the leading exporters of avocados from Peru, this year it will rely on several points of supply to fill demand for avocados during the summer months.

“Although Peru is historically one of the strongest origins during the summer, the industry has projected a shorter and smaller crop for the 2024 Peruvian season, mainly due to the impact of the El Niño phenomenon,” said Keith Barnard, senior vice president, global sourcing for the Oxnard, CA-based company. “As a result, we’re leveraging our diversified sourcing strategy and deep-rooted grower connections across California, Mexico and Colombia, to complement our Peruvian supply and maintain the quality and reliability of our programs.”

avoBarnard noted that the firm’s global sourcing network is unparalleled among avocado shippers. “We are committed to delivering the world’s finest avocados to our customers, so we make it our priority to source only the highest-quality fruit available from all origins,” he said. “Heading into the summer months, we’re looking forward to supplying customer programs with avocados from California, Mexico, Colombia and Peru.”

This season, several situations have converged leading to this strategic pivot. “The California season has beat our expectations; due to favorable springtime conditions, we’ve seen a plentiful fruit set, and orchards across the state have responded positively to the above normal rainfall from the past two winters,” he said. “The eating quality of our California avocados is top notch: we pick up the fruit the day our growers harvest it and bring it immediately to our California packhouse, which is located in Ventura County, close to many of our growers. We then hydrocool the avocados before sorting, packing and ripening to enhance fruit quality, extend shelf-life and minimize fruit damage. Our infrastructure is state-of-the-art and enables us to move substantial volumes of fruit — we have the capacity to pack up to 1.2 million pounds of avocados a day and ripen more than 343,000 avocados at once.”

Barnard offered that the company’s excellent relationships with top growers across California have been forged because of its full-fledged agronomy support, in-field service and competitive returns.

He added that Mission has also been strengthening its grower/supplier relationships in Mexico, and plan to keep that momentum going through the summer months.

“Although the summer is typically lighter in volume as the crop transitions, we plan to remain consistent with our grower base and focus on maximizing the use of our two packhouses in Michoacán,” Barnard said. “Maintaining our consistent presence in Mexico has already been paying off, and I anticipate this summer to be one of our strongest Mexican seasons yet.”

Returning his attention to Peru, he revealed that Mission will continue to have a strong Peruvian avocado presence in the U.S. marketplace with a number of merchandising tools available to its customers. “When it comes to offering sales aids to retailers for Peruvian fruit, we offer backroom posters, hands-on training, and several other resources to promote a good experience with storage and handling,” Barnard said. “For example, our quality team informs our customers of the precise temperature for storing Peruvian avocados in order to maintain product quality after delivery.”

Tim Linden

Tim Linden

About Tim Linden  |  email

Tim Linden grew up in a produce family as both his father and grandfather spent their business careers on the wholesale terminal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tim graduated from San Diego State University in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Shortly thereafter he began his career at The Packer where he stayed for eight years, leaving in 1983 to join Western Growers as editor of its monthly magazine. In 1986, Tim launched Champ Publishing as an agricultural publishing specialty company.

Today he is a contract publisher for several trade associations and writes extensively on all aspects of the produce business. He began writing for The Produce News in 1997, and currently wears the title of Editor at Large.

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