News and Stories

UPDATE: Lemons

July 19, 2016

Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Lemons are available. Prices are steady; domestic and offshore supplies are adequate. The Southern California growing region is the primary growing area for domestic lemons until new crop Arizona/California Desert harvesting begins in September. Packer label Chilean lemons are available on the East and West Coasts; prices are comparable to/slightly lower than domestic lemons. Mexican fruit will be on the market by mid-August. The market will ease at that time.



  • MFC and ESS Lemons are available; packer label is being substituted as needed
  • California’s Southern Coast is the primary growing region from June to September
  • Quality is fairly good; the coastal growing region experiences more challenges compared to the San Joaquin Valley and Arizona/California Desert areas
    • High humidity and strong winds lead to more bruising and scarring than normal
    • Occasional internal issues that are undetectable at shipping points are not uncommon; currently there is no technology to detect internal issues in packing facilities
    • Overall quality tends to decrease during the summer months due to these conditions
  • Small sizes (200- and 235-count) are limited; supplies are dominated by 115- and 140- count sizes
  • Prices have leveled now that offshore fruit is on the market; expect prices to ease by mid-August, when Mexican lemons become available
  • Domestic quality will not improve and supply levels will not increase until new crop Arizona/California Desert harvesting starts in September


  • Packer label Chilean lemons are available for loading on both coasts
    • Fruit is available in fancy grade (with stickers) and choice grade (without stickers)
    • Sizes are dominated by 140-count and larger fruit; the crop contains very few 165- or 200-count sizes
    • Chilean lemons are packed in 17kg/37-pound cartons (72 per pallet) versus domestic lemons that are shipped in 18kg/40-pound cartons (54 per pallet)
  • Quality is good: green color is a slight problem in choice grade fruit (photo attached)
  • Prices are comparable to/slightly lower than the California market
  • The season will run through early October


  • Although the season will start by mid-August, MFC Lemons will not be available until late August
  • Supplies will be available for loading out of Delano, California and Mission, Texas
  • Early season estimates predict the crop will be dominated by 165-count and smaller fruit
  • Prices will be competitive; this market is typically lower than that for California domestic lemons

South Africa

  • “Black spot” is a citrus fungus found in South African lemons that prevents these supplies from being shipped to the United States
  • A cold treatment which sterilizes the fruit is required prior to importing South African citrus
    • This process involves storing fruit at near-freezing temperatures for an extended period of time to kill any fungus
    • Unlike oranges, lemons are at high risk of freeze damage during this process because they do not have high enough sugar content to keep the pulp from freezing
    • Therefore, South African lemons are rarely imported into the United States
  • The majority of fruit is currently being shipped to Canada and Europe, where there are no cold treatment requirements
  • South African lemons are packed in 15kg/33-pound cartons versus 18kg/40-pound domestic cartons
  • Landed costs into Canadian markets are often lower than those for California domestic lemons

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.


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