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U.S. garlic strong in all areas

ANAHEIM, CA — Despite slight labor issues, the market for U.S. garlic is currently strong in all areas.

Industry leaders met during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Oct. 27 at a breakfast sponsored by Christopher Ranch and Empacadora G.A.B., here, to discuss the current and future state of the garlic industry.

Paul Auerbach of Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., based in Secaucus, NJ, said there was a “pretty good market on all items and in all areas,” and that sales are strong. He also noted that the company successfully opened a new facility 10 months ago.

Others in attendance suggested that the market could be tight through the summer; however, there is a good crop of U.S. garlic, and a lack of Chinese product in the marketplace is keeping prices strong.

It was noted that even if prices dip, there should still be good pricing.

News out of Mexico is a bit more mixed. After a tough 14-month period, there is a lot of product from new producers, which has led to a large disparity between high- and low-quality garlic. There are about 5,000 tons of good-quality garlic in cold storage.

Throughout the breakfast, it was noted that there must be an effort to educate consumers on the difference between good and bad product. The need for enforced legislation to protect the market was also discussed.

Speaking of Chinese garlic, Jim Provost of Kelton, PA-based I Love Produce said there are currently 5 billion pounds in storage, which is “enough to reach the moon and back three times.”