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Grower Alliance foresees strong fall markets

RIO RICO, AZ — Hurricane Irma’s early-September destruction of Florida crops may benefit the markets for Mexican products as late as January, said Jorge (George) Quintero Jr., managing partner of Grower Alliance LLC. In the fall, markets for green beans, eggplant and bell peppers from Mexico were strong. “There was enough squash coming out of Mexico to block a high spike,” he noted.

Quintero predicted the tomato market “will be good in November, December and maybe into January because of Irma.”

Early this fall, Mexico, generally speaking, had cooler weather than has been seen in four or five years. Quintero said, there were great yields in the fields and production schedules will be more routine, with less overlap between growing regions. “Altogether, there should be good markets. Demand should exceed supply for most items,” he said.

Grower Alliance plans to have the same fall program that it has shipped for the last couple of years. This will involve five or six million packages.

“We’re getting off to a good start this year,” he said in late October. “Last year it was a horrible start. For watermelon, we’ve had really high markets. We started watermelons in late August and we had two months of prices in the 30s,” referring to 30-plus cents a pound. Those prices were adjusting down in October.

Grower Alliance plans to be shipping its full Mexican program from December into July 4.

Last year Grower Alliance had its biggest organic program ever, but that has been scaled back. Last year Growers Alliance shipped seven organic commodities. This year it is shipping four: Italian and yellow squash, Roma tomatoes and mini-sweet peppers.