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GLC Cerritos finishes second avocado season

By
Tim Linden

It was just two years ago that the avocado production in the Mexico state of Jalisco gained potential access to the U.S. market, with grower-packers having to also qualify for certification of their groves and facilities to begin exporting.

glc“We are excited about finishing up our second season,” said Giovanni Cavaletto, president of GLC Cerritos, which has its U.S. presence in Ventura County, CA. “It’s amazing to realize it’s been two years (since Jalisco opened up). The time has flown by.”

Cavaletto joined GLC Cerritos last year after more than 25 years with another California based avocado grower-packer shipper. The growing entity, Grupo Aguacatero Los Cerritos, is located in Ciudad Guzman in Jalisco, producing avocados on about 3,000 acres. “This has been a really, really good season,” he said.

He noted that Jalisco’s location, north of the major growing state of Michoacan, gives it a little different timing on the crop. While avocados are packed and shipped all 12 months of the year from Jalisco, Cavaletto said production is typically six to eight weeks earlier on each end of the deal. Hence the 2023-24 crop is quickly winding down as the calendar turns to April. He added that Jalisco has been holding its own, shipping about 8 percent of Mexico’s production on a monthly basis, but that is expected to decline in May and June. On the flip side, Jalisco’s 2024-25 crop should start producing good volume prior to the start of Michoacan’s new crop in late summer.

 

“We will have some volume all year, but our slowest time is May through August,” Cavaletto revealed.

The company’s president believes that GLC Cerritos is a bit different than other Mexico-based grower-packers and not just because of its location. “Our focus is on sustainability,” he said. “Our mission as a company is to inspire other growers to produce healthy food for the world.”

The company has achieved GlobalGAP and Rainforest Alliance certification on all of its acreage. “I believe we are the only Mexican grower-packer with Rainforest Alliance certification, which includes environmental and social responsibility components. By next year, we expect to be Fair Trade certified.”

That certification is worker focused, setting a fair wage for farmworkers and creating a worker-controlled fund fueled by the premium paid for Fair Trade products.

Cavaletto said the drought in Mexico, which has impacted most of the country for the past year, has resulted in tight supplies and excellent prices for growers. “Fruit is going to get tighter in the fourth quarter (April to June),” he said, speaking of supplies. “We are expecting prices to be at least 60 percent higher than they were last year at this time.  That’s great for growers (in Mexico, the United States and Peru), but we know it’s frustrating for retailers.”

The GLC executive said this is a worldwide situation with higher FOB prices expected to last well into August before an expected uptick in Mexico’s volume alleviates some of the pressure. Cavaletto noted that California’s summer production is expected to be down about 10 percent with reports from Peru predicting a 30 percent decline from 2023. “Mexico’s might not have less fruit right now than it had a year ago, but it sure feels like it,” he said, explaining that avocado demand from U.S. consumers has been very strong all year.

Cavaletto reasoned that consumers who have been faced with sticker shock with U.S. food prices, are now dealing with it and returning to previous buying habits, especially with avocados that have seen lots of promotions this year.

The longtime avocado veteran also discussed the potential for Mexico to begin shipping its 2024-25 crop prior to the usual start date of July 1. He revealed that GLC representatives are currently on a committee in Mexico looking at dry matter percentages and determining if that July timeline can be moved up for fruit that passes a specific measurement. He said that could be especially beneficial for Jalisco growers, where the fruit comes on earlier, as he previously stated.

Preparing for the upcoming Viva Fresh show in Houston, Cavaletto said he will be touting GLC’s sustainability efforts, its new bagging machine at its packing facility in Jalisco and the company’s sales philosophy. “All our fruit is packed and bagged in Jalisco,” he said. “We pick to order to create the shortest time possible from tree-to-table.”

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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