Domestic and imported supplies of watermelons into North America are good.
“There are good supplies of watermelon from Mexico and California. They’re transitioning in California from the desert region to the Bakersfield district or the central California district,” says Karen Thomson of Thomson Fresh LLC in Los Angeles, Ca. “And Mexico is sending a lot of fruit in. It seems like Mexico should be done by now but they aren’t. California goes through August and then we go to Oregon in late August and into September.”
She also adds that the volume is similar to last year at this time. “But we’re definitely later as far as the harvest. That said, the volume will be the same,” Thomson says.
Demand meanwhile has been slower though things are starting to turn. “Demand has been steady but with Mexico sending all that fruit in and the weather wasn’t super warm, the market for watermelons has certainly been depressed,” says Thomson.
Turnaround in demand
However as North America heats up, the demand for it has picked up. “When people are hot, they like watermelon so the demand has definitely increased in the last few weeks,” she says.
What is in demand are different varieties of watermelon—Thomson says there’s strong demand for Thomson Fresh’ seedless yellow watermelon as well as its organic watermelon. “That program is doing well. The market’s got strong demand for organic and I think it will continue to grow,” Thomson says.
Yet, back with conventional melons pricing is described as fair. “We’d like to see it a little bit higher. It’s lower than last year at this time,” says Thomson. “I feel like the market is getting stronger and on an upward turn compared to where it’s been as Mexico tapers off. It makes the market stronger because there’s not as much fruit out there. And I think we’ll see a good pull for the 4th of July and hopefully it continues to be strong after that.”