SEE INSIDE! Reality, dreams diverge in produce aisle OPINION, A8 | THE MOST TRUSTED NEWS IN PRODUCE | CXXIV, NO. 28 | JULY 10, 2017 | THEPACKER.COM Workers pack cantaloupe for Firebaugh, Calif.-based Westside Produce Inc. High temperatures in the West have spiked melon prices. Courtesy Westside Produce Inc. Lidl, Aldi prices equal Western cantaloupe, honeydew markets skyrocketing By Jim Offner CANTALOUPE AND honeydew prices are zooming with the tem-peratures out West, and suppliers expect prices to stay high at least into mid-July. “Prices have doubled, basical-ly,” said Bruce Frasier, president of Dixondale Farms Inc., Carrizo Springs, Texas. The price spike is directly related to a heat wave that sent parts of Ari-zona and California into triple digits for daytime high temperatures, Fra-sier said. “They had that heat wave, so the number of loads coming out of Arizona and California have dropped about 60%, so there’s not hardly any fruit coming out of By Jim Offner GERMAN RETAILER LIDL’S first foray into the U.S. brings it on par in pric-ing with fellow German dis-count retail chain Aldi and below other major chains, including Wal-Mart, a re-cent study by Deutsche Bank shows. Deutsche Bank analysts visited three of 10 stores Lidl opened in June — in Greenville, Kinston and Sanford, N.C. — to com-pare prices there against those at Wal-Mart, Kroger and Aldi. “We came away im-pressed with Lidl’s relatively upscale in-store experience, low prices, and unique Lidl A2 > > Watermelon’s affected, too Crops & Markets, A11 there,” Frasier said. Prices before the heat wave were around $6.50-7 but jumped to the $17 range, Frasier said. On June 26, half cartons of canta-loupes from the Imperial Valley and Palo Verde Valley districts of Cali-fornia and central and western Ar-izona were $16.95-22.95 for size 9s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A year earlier, the same product was $6.50-8.95 for size 9s and $7-8.95 for size 12s. As of July 3, supplies from the re-gion were insufficient to establish a market, the USDA said. Prices on 2/3 cartons of honey-dews from the Imperial and Palo Verde valleys July 3 were $15.95-16.95 for size 5s and 6s. A year earli-er, they were $6-7.95. Frasier said he is the only Texas cantaloupe grower, and most of his fruit will stay in the region. Prices likely will remain where they are for the next two weeks, he said. “That same heat wave hit the Cal-ifornia Westside deal, hurt their ear-ly production,” he said June 30. Growers in the East weren’t hav-ing as much trouble with supplies as growers out West, said Josh Knox, melons category manager with Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Robinson Fresh. “Supply in the East seems to be doing fine. Of course, it has to do with supply and demand,” he said. “The heat wave, of course, helped decrease the supply of melons out of the Imperial Valley, Arizona, and along the Colorado River, ” said Steve Cou-ture, partner in Huron, Calif.-based Couture Farms, which grows honey-dews and specialty melons. The heat wave cut the Imperial Valley deal short, said Stephen Thom-ason, salesman with Fresno, Ca-lif.-based Crown Jewels Marketing. Crown Jewels was expecting to start getting shipments from Cal-ifornia’s Westside district around July 10, Thomason said. After that, prices should moder-ate, he said. That deal, like many other com-modities in California, was slowed by weather earlier this year, not re-cent heat waves, Thomason said. Prices likely will stay up well into July, Couture said. P California Gold Our avocados are locally grown in the coastal groves of California. Now in season, carry the avocado with the golden seal of approval—the California label. It’s the symbol your customers rely on for the guaranteed homegrown taste, freshness and quality. Call 1-800-344-4333 or visit CaliforniaAvocado.com/Retail for merchandising support and marketing programs to help grow your California Avocado business. Produce of U.S.A. © 2016 California Avocado Commission. All rights reserved.