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Recession catches up to ag – Citrus, wine feel global slowdown

By   /   Sunday, June 28th, 2009  /   Comments Off on Recession catches up to ag – Citrus, wine feel global slowdown

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If life gives you lemons, sell them and be glad you didn’t get high-end wine grapes.

That’s the takeaway from recent updates from tri-county agriculture veterans and experts. Lemon prices will probably be down this year, and high temperatures mean the third paltry California avocado crop in a row. But with wine consumers trading down to cheaper bottles, it could be 15 years before startup vineyards turn a profit.

At the Limoneira Co.’s annual summer picnic in Santa Paula on June 22, Chief Executive Officer Harold Edwards said 2008 was the firm’s best year for lemon profits in the past 150 years because of a supply shortage that didn’t affect Limoneira. But this year, trees have recovered and prices will fall, Edwards said.

On top of that, broiling temperatures reduced the firm’s avocado crop this year to 150 million pounds, compared to 300 million pounds in a normal year.

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