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McDaniel relies on Peru for summer program

With summer getting ready to kick off, McDaniel Fruit Co., based in Fallbrook, CA, was getting ready to receive its first load of Peruvian avocados, which are an important element of the company’s conventional and organic summer avocado program.

Company President Rankin McDaniel Sr. told The Produce News that the Peruvian supplies are very much needed, especially on the organic side. He noted that organic avocado shipments from both California and Mexico typically start to wane as the summer wears on with Peru’s production giving the category a boost.

He noted that organic demand currently far outpaces supply with the gap between conventional and organic fruit in the $15 to $20 range. He said Peru’s entry into the category should allow organic pricing to drop a bit.

“Organics are a growing part of our business,” he added.

And of course, Peru avocado exporters play an important role on the conventional side as well, as during their peak shipping weeks they typically account for 20-30 percent of total volume. McDaniel said established groves are maturing and new orchards continue to come into production, leading to increased production from Peru every year.

McDaniel Fruit is expecting to have Peruvian fruit well into September and receives fruit on both U.S. coasts. While its California customers are very supportive of the California avocado industry, McDaniel said the company has customers in other western states that do order the Peruvian avocados during those months.

As far as this year’s production is concerned, McDaniel said bagged avocados continue to increase their footprint at retail and the company’s Peruvian supplies will also be increasing their production of the bagged SKUs.

With the Peruvian fruit just beginning to go through grading and sizing, McDaniel said that the quality and size are both excellent, and he expects the fruit to come into a stable marketing situation.

In mid-May, he said sales were going well with stable pricing on the most desirable sizes. The smaller sizes have been subject to a post-Cinco de Mayo price correction, but that should not affect Peru’s mostly larger fruit. Peru’s preponderance of young trees tend to produce large fruit, with a majority expected to be sized 40 or larger.

Photo: Rankin McDaniel

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