Ciruli Bros. eyes April peak for early fruit

March 03, 2016 | 11:32 am EST

Photo by Ciruli Bros.LLC

Rio Rico, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros. LLC expects its Chiapas, Mexico, deal to peak in the four weeks right after Easter, which falls on March 27, said partner Chris Ciruli.

Other than a couple of days of gusty winds in early February, the growing weather in Chiapas has been excellent, Ciruli said.

Ciruli Bros. started its harvest the week of Feb. 15, later than most Mexican mango shippers, Ciruli said. “There was a quick flush of fruit from other growers, now there’s a lull,” Ciruli said Feb. 25. “In general there’s a gap out of Oaxaca.”

That gap should end by mid-March, in time for Easter promotions, he said.

“It’s a very captive market in March and April. There’s not a lot of other fruit in the market.”

Warmer temperatures across the U.S. in late winter also should spur demand, Ciruli said. 

Ciruli Bros. will be pushing retailers to promote more than one mango variety at a time in their displays this season.

In mid-May the company expects to begin bringing in mangoes from the Nayarit growing region of Mexico, Ciruli said.

Industry-wide, Ciruli doesn’t expect a repeat of last year, when ample volumes at the front end of the Mexican deal yielded to a “lackluster” back end of the deal.

“We continue to see new plantings in the north. It should be double-digit growth again.”

With new ground limited in the southern growing regions of Mexico, new gains in the deal will likely come from the north, Ciruli said.

The exchange rate also promises a strong year for Mexican mango shipments to the U.S., Ciruli said.

“With the dollar stronger, it makes Canada and Europe less attractive” for Mexican shippers.

Ciruli Bros. was shipping only its yellow Champagne mangoes in the early deal, Ciruli said. Round varieties were expected to follow in April.

After years of focusing on Champagnes only, Ciruli Bros. reintroduced rounds in 2015. The company even brought back two old labels — Mr. Mango and Super Mango — to pack rounds, after about a decade on the shelf.

“We’re targeting hadens, kents and keitts — better-flavor varieties. They’ve had good