US: Watermelon market steady into Labor Day, unclear after

Good demand and steady supplies of watermelons from California have made for a stable market going into Labor Day. The holiday in early September is the last big summer event, so growers are expecting less demand afterward. Shippers, anticipating less consumption, typically pull back on supplies, and pricing through September will depend on how supplies match demand.

“September can be a wild card,” said Ryan Van Groningen with Van Groningen and Sons in Manteca, California. “Growers cut back because they know demand goes down, but sometimes you cut back too much or don't cut back enough. That's why pricing can be volatile after Labor Day.” 

Though not as big a holiday for watermelon consumption as other summer holidays, Labor Day is the last event in summer that causes a spike in consumption. In addition to California watermelons, there are also supplies available from Oregon, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Thus, pricing will also be determined by how much local production there is throughout the western half of the country.

Current prices have been about as expected. On August 25, prices for a carton of red seedless miniature 6s from the San Joaquin Valley were between $11.95 and $12.95, and prices for 35-count seedless melons were between 18 and 20 cents per pound.

“Overall, quality has been good and brix levels have been high,” said Van Groningen. “It's been an average to a little above average market, and we'll have another two months of watermelons.”

For more information:
Ryan Van Groningen
Van Groningen and Sons
+1 209 982 5248

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