Supplies of asparagus are picking up after a high-priced market in late summer.
“Peru is coming on and almost everybody out of Baja, Ca. has already started. Typically the majority start between the 4th and the 10th of October,” says Chris Brazeel, sales manager of Jacobs, Malcolm & Burtt (JMB) based in San Ramon, Ca. “But they started several weeks earlier because of the lack of asparagus during the central Mexican season, which finished up earlier than normal.”
Baja was spurred into action for a few reasons. “Along with that lack of supply from Central Mexico, there was a tropical storm that came through Baja 2. 5 weeks ago,” says Brazeel. “They had to get some fields prepared before that came in. Otherwise, they’d be set behind.”
The push from Peru
Peru is also continually bringing in strong volumes. “There are 500,000+ boxes coming in this next week and the following so they’re hitting a peak. It is more than usual,” says Brazeel. “Every week of the year besides February-March they have an average of 275,000-325,000 boxes a week.”
Meanwhile demand is looking light for the vegetable. “It’s light because we’ve had such a high market out of the latter part of August and into September. The stores are $5-$7/lb. so everything came to a screeching halt when they got that high,” says Brazeel. “Now with the extra volume that we’ve had for the past two weeks, it’s been extra sluggish and moving very slow because of the high retail prices.”
While demand in October is generally slower for asparagus, Brazeel notes it is trying to get some ads going for the first week of the month. “So hopefully we’ll see retail drop to a reasonable $1.99 or even $2.99 to get things moving,” says Brazeel. “We have to get out of the $3.99-$4.99 stuff.”