Tomatoes top U.S. vegetable imports from west Mexico

November 27, 2017 12:34 PM
Tomatoes are the No. 1 produce item exported from Mexico to the U.S., according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tomatoes are the No. 1 produce item exported from Mexico to the U.S., according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

During the 2016-17 season, Mexican growers exported about 1.2 billion pounds of round, roma, cherry and grape tomatoes to the U.S.

Growers anticipate good quality and  supplies this fall and winter.

Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., expects to increase its volume of round and roma tomatoes by 10% to 15% this season, said Brian Bernauer, director of operations and sales.

Calavo will offer shade house-grown tomatoes through mid-May.

Del Campo Supreme Inc. in Nogales, Ariz., will start shipping a full line of tomatoes, including vine-ripes, beefsteak, tomatoes-on-the-vine and grape tomatoes, in mid-December, said Jim Munguia, sales manager.

Volume should be similar to last year, he said, and quality and yields should be good, since they are grown in shade houses and greenhouses.

Grower Alliance LLC in Rio Rico also will start roma and beefsteak tomatoes from Culiacan in mid-December, said partner Jorge Quintero Jr.

The company still will be shipping tomatoes through McAllen, Texas, from Michoacan and Jalisco.

The early tomatoes are hydroponically grown in greenhouses, he said, while the Culiacan product is grown in shade houses.

Nogales-based Bernardi & Associates Inc. had been shipping good-quality vine-ripes and roma tomatoes out of Jalisco since August and planned to continue to offer them through November, said salesman Manny Gerardo.

After a gap during the first part of December, the company will resume shipments of Sinaloa product in late December.

Weather conditions have been favorable so far this year, Gerardo said in early November, unlike last year, when the growing areas endured tropical storms and even hurricanes.

“This year, it looks like weather is very, very good, providing very good growing conditions,” he said.

Most of the company’s Sinaloa tomatoes are shade house-grown, he said, while a few are greenhouse-grown and some are field grown.

Rio Rico-based Ciruli Bros. LLC expects to begin its hothouse round and roma tomato program Dec. 15-25, said partner Chris Ciruli.

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