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Asparagus, watermelon prices high, avocados low

By
Craig Levitt, managing editor

Poor growing conditions and shipping delays continue to affect produce prices.

Take asparagus for example: Average FOB prices are currently 20 percent higher than the previous week. At more than $31, asparagus prices are closing in on the extreme levels of 2013 and 2017.

According to Mark Campbell, founder and CEO of ProduceIQ, port delays in Peru and colder temperatures are affecting that country's supply, while too little rain and heat in Mexico are firing up asparagus prices. He added that central Mexico's growing season is winding down, and crop production is transitioning to the northern Baja region.

“This time of year, Mexico's asparagus production is considerably lower; however, it still accounts for approximately 50 percent of all available product in the United States,” said Campbell. “Therefore, expect prices to escalate through early August as supply fluctuates.”

Poor growing conditions and challenging weather are causing watermelon prices to soar. In the summer, domestic watermelon markets fragment across multiple states. As a result, prices typically stay steady. “This year, poor growing conditions in most places (except surprisingly California) are thwarting plans to subsist entirely on the delectably refreshing fruit until fall gives us a needed respite from the summer heat,” said Campbell.

Demand will most likely stay high until fall brings cooler weather, and supplies are expected to improve over the next few weeks — slowly.

“That should make our favorite summer fruit a bit more affordable,” said Campbell.

On the other hand, avocados are at their lowest prices since December 2021. Supply in the U.S. is solid now, thanks to the steady product from Mexico and Peru. Colombia and California are on the decline but are still contributing to availability in a small way.

“Supplies should stay steady but may decline when Peru wraps up its export season toward the end of August,” said Campbell, “so, feel free to commence with all the guacamole making you've been missing for the last seven months.”

Craig Levitt

Craig Levitt

About Craig Levitt  |  email

When his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player came crashing down due to lack of talent, Craig Levitt turned to journalism. He graduated from Hofstra University in 1992 and has covered various areas of the retail food trade since 1996. Craig joined The Produce News in 2017 and is now managing editor. In his spare time, Craig still plays men’s league hockey (poorly) and enjoys walking the aisles of his favorite supermarket with his wife and two daughters.

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November 28, 2022

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