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Vision Import kicks off Mexican lemon and Brazilian mango deals

By
J. McHenry

Mexican lemons and Brazilian mangos are set for a successful season at Vision Import Group, based in Wyckoff, NJ.

“We’ve handled lemons from Mexico and mangos from Brazil for more than a decade now but this year we’re really looking to promote and expand the deals,” said Angela Aronica, vice president of sales at Vision Import.

The company just finished up the Argentine lemon season and transitioned fully to Mexico during the month of August. “This year’s Mexican lemon season saw first arrivals a bit later than usual because of a freeze in January that impacted the growing season,” said Aronica. “We expect production to start slow until the season ramps up toward the end of August into the first week of September.”

Though overall volume is projected to be 30-40 percent less because of the freeze, Aronica said that Vision Import does not expect to have less volume to market.

“We secured good volume with our partner growers who we’ve been working together with for more than a decade,” she said. “We expect the season to extend until the end of December and maybe even into January. Peak period will be September through October, when quality and volume are at prime.”

Aronica also related that they expect small fruit will be less plentiful during the season over historical trends. “In terms of sizing, we’re seeing 140s and 115s as opposed to the more traditional 200s and 165s,” she said.

The company plans to emphasize the benefit of its value-added two-pound Mr. Squeeze lemon bags for this season.

“The bags are a great value for customers,” said Christine McCullough, director of business development for Vision Import. “You’re basically getting more pieces at a lower cost because we’re packing those bags with whatever size is peaking.”

Organic lemon supply and demand is something to plan for now, suggested Aronica. “Our organic Mexican lemons are popular but the organic crop is going to be significantly less for everybody including us this year,” she said. “This is a direct impact of the freeze. The organic crop was impacted more than the conventional crop.”

For best organic supply, McCullough explained that customers should look at seasonal programs instead of working on a spot buy basis. “Our growers want secure contracts and programs,” she said. “That’s the best way to go about the organic deal because of the low volume. Overall we’re moving toward more contract business.”

Vision also received its first seasonal containers of Brazilian mangos at the port of Philadelphia the third week of August. “Growing conditions this season were optimal and quality is expected to be excellent,” said Aronica. “However, ocean freight has more than doubled since last year, so that may have substantial impact on pricing over last season.”

Peak of volume is expected in mid-September, with the deal consisting of mostly nine-and 10-count. “All arrivals will be predominantly Tommy Atkins variety,” said Aronica. “We do expect a few Palmer variety at the start of the season, however, these typically do not run the whole season and their volume is more limited.”

Palmer mangos are less round than most red mango varieties with a more slender and elongated shape. “The skin will typically have a very deep red, almost purple, blush,” described McCullough. “The flavor profile of the Palmer is sweet and aromatic with a hint of papaya. It’s a lovely piece of fruit and a unique offering for the right customer.”

A quicker end to this year’s Mexican season will affect the Brazilian deal, according to Aronica.

“This year’s Mexican season looks to end sooner than normal due to high moisture in production regions,” she explained. “This will cause the Brazilian season to begin with higher momentum so we’ll see a lot of activity early in the season. The best time to promote would be end of September through October. The season will overlap a bit with Ecuador, which starts in late October as well.”

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