Garlic supplies in U.S. still tight, change expected soon
"China is a big producer of garlic and the majority of the crop shipped to the US is from the Shandong region, which comes to harvest later than other garlic producing regions in China.
"The crop also has to cure before shipping to the U.S. In the U.S., we have a storage crop and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Demand is very high and supply is very short because of weather issues this year and supply got pushed off a little bit."
Because of a four-week transit time for Chinese garlic to the U.S. market, the impact of harvest and high supplies will not so quickly be felt in the U.S. market, says Anthony DeAngelis of Christopher Ranch.
"However, we are right on the cusp of when new crop California (and China) will start to be circulating (about mid-June), and then the market may change rapidly, especially if the new crop from California is also early," he added.
"If the new California crop is abundant, which early indications may imply, then it will get very interesting very quickly. There is usually about a 50/50 split here for preference of domestic vs. imports, so several sources having abundant crops lines up for a much lower and softer market. We will have to see how it turns out."
Until mid-June, garlic out of California does continue to be available, but in lower quantities, says DeAngelis. In addition, Christopher Ranch is bringing garlic in from other regions to get them through until June.
Meanwhile increasing in popularity in the garlic field is consumers’ interest in organics—Christopher Ranch in fact featured its expanded line of organic garlic items, with bilingual French labeling for the Canadian market at the recent 2017 Canadian Produce Marketing Association Annual Convention and Trade Show.
"We continue to follow the growth of organics as an outlet for us year after year," says Anthony.
"It continues to grow exponentially in that sector. So while it’s not a large part of our overall business, we continue to have the best growth potential as far as demand." ■