Country Sweet Produce's Nick Martinez, SunFed's Craig Slate, and Western Veg Pro's Dylan Lym Discuss the Melon Market
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
CALIFORNIA & MEXICO - As temperatures heat up, so shall the melon category it seems. Currently a steady market, SunFed’s VP of Sales N.A., Craig Slate, Country Sweet Produce’s Commodity Sales Manager, Nick Martinez, and Western Veg Pro’s Head of Melon Sales, Dylan Lym, took the time to share with me how the market is shaping up as we head into summer.
"Watermelon supplies and quality have been better this year versus last,” Craig tells me. “Plants and fruit set look very good, indicating excellent fruit quality and sizing going forward.”
As we move into the time of year where consumers become “watermelon hungry,” Craig adds that he expects demand to continue to be strong. “We are moving into the time of year where consumers are hungry for watermelon.”
“Our spring crops are winding down, with our summer crop of MelonHeads® and seedless watermelon production moving into our summer growing region,” Craig says.
Over at Western Veg, Dylan also says that quality is looking good throughout all regions, with expectations for it to remain that way.
“Central Florida and Nogales are beginning to slow down, but Arizona, California, Northern Florida, and Georgia are all starting within the next week, so I expect supply to remain steady through the month of June,” Dylan tells me of what he anticipates in the coming weeks, adding that the biggest challenge as of late is some poor weather around the country.
“Luckily, the country is heating up and we should see an increase in demand over the next couple of weeks,” Dylan says.
This is good news for both the melons and the consumers. Dylan adds that, as weather around the country continues to improve, he expects movement to continue to pick up as we approach the 4th of July.
In California, Country Sweet Produce is seeing consistent volume for organic seedless mini-melons, with early summer weather playing a major factor in producing an exceptional melon for the upcoming holiday.
“The demand for California Watermelons is definitely on the rise for the 4th of July holiday,” Nick shares. “The consumers are excited for the ruby red flesh and sweet flavor that California Watermelons consistently provide year after year.”
When it comes to what the retail side should know about Country Sweet’s program, Nick tells me, “At CSP, we have decades of experience in variety selection, along with the ideal climate for growing the perfect watermelon. Cool springs, warm summers, and the fertile soil of the San Joaquin Valley combined with the Bako Sweet brand make watermelons that the consumers will remember."
Country Sweet currently expects that Organic Regular size and Mini watermelons will start June 20th and go through the week of July 25th, he says. “Volume is good and we expect good movement through the end of July.”
Are you summer-ready? Keep checking in with AndNowUKnow as we continue to report on all current markets through the summer season and beyond.