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Ciruli Bros. looking for stronger deal as mango production shifts

Because of what many call the alternate bearing tendency of a mango tree, the Chiapas region didn’t deliver the volume of Ataulfos that Ciruli Bros. LLC were looking for during the early stretch of the Mexican mango deal.

“Right now we are transitioning out of Chiapas and into Nayarit,” said Chris Ciruli, the Nogales, AZ-based company’s chief operating officer, in mid-May. “It’s a new field and a new pick and we expect better volume.”

He explained that Chiapas produced a bumper crop last year and Nayarit was on the light side. His father, longtime mango expert Chuck Ciruli, believes the alternate bearing theory rears its not so pretty head time and time again, and this year is just another example. The younger Ciruli indicated that the Nayarit crop on the tree is bearing witness to that theory this year. “We expect to have good volume from Nayarit from Memorial Day through June.”

Ciruli was speaking of the yellow-skinned Ataulfo variety, which is the fruit that Ciruli Bros. specializes in, selling it under its proprietary “Champagne” label. However, he said, the firm will be marketing an increasing number of green skinned Kents from Nayarit this year “but we won’t see any Kents until the second week of June.”

Overall, Ciruli said the growing weather has been very good in Nayarit causing the trees to yield a crop much earlier than last year. “We are picking 15 days earlier than last year,” he said.

He added that fact will also increase the volume because it will give the growers an additional two weeks to pick the fruit and market the crop.

A couple of months ago after surveying the Mexican crop and U.S. marketing conditions, Ciruli predicted to The Produce News that volume would be significantly greater this year — up as much as 15 percent. Though the Chiapas Ataulfo crop was down, he said overall supplies from Mexico are at least 1.5 million cartons greater than last year. He said good retail promotions are chiefly responsible for the increased shipments, including “a very good Cinco de Mayo pull. A lot of retailers were on ad that week.”

In fact, Ciruli said retail promotions in March, April and May have been plentiful. “It’s going to be a lot harder” getting promotional space “moving forward as there will be a lot more competition” for that space.

“Mexican grapes are just getting started and they will be followed by California tree fruit,” he said.