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U.S.: Stable start for Chilean orange season despite higher volume

While recent reports suggest quality problems have set back pricing for Chilean lemons and easy peelers, the first weeks of the season showed a strong footing for the country’s oranges in the U.S.

According to figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Chilean orange prices stood at US$ 22/15kg (33lbs) box last week, which is similar to the level they were at for the same period in 2015.

South African orange prices were also within the historic two-year average at US$ 24/15kg (33lbs) box.

Chilean orange shipments started in June and until the first week of July they reached 7,483 metric tons (MT), representing a rise of 11% year-on-year, according to Chilean statistics agency Odepa.

As has been the trend at this time of year, the U.S. has accounted for 85% of Chile’s shipments.

In 2015, Chile finished the orange season with 69,170MT exported, recovering from a low of 57,445MT in 2014.

In terms of easy peelers, a representative from the Chilean Citrus Committee has told the local press there has been a lot of fruit with seeds this year due to cross-pollination.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com

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FreshFruitPortal.com

Second wave of California figs brings more volume

The California fig season started strong with great sizing and quality. While bigger sizing brought optimism to retailers looking for a premium at checkout, a lack of volume kept figs from being promotable.

The second season is also sizing well with the bonus of more volume, according to Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager for Stellar Distributing, based in Madera, CA.KurtKurt Cappelluti

“It could be the best one we’ve ever had as far as growth and production on our 300 plus acres of young trees,” Cappelluti said. “That means we’ll have figs as late as anyone. The young trees will give us a ton of production, which was missing during the first season, and sizing looks to be better. That’s good news for retailers looking to satisfy fig fans.”

Regular rain through California’s 2016 spring season benefitted the young fig trees, according to Cappelluti. After several years of severe drought, routine rain pushed growth on the young trees and is now pushing good volume.

“This year’s quality will be as good as our 2015 season and the great volume will give us strong supply into November,” he added. “It’s exciting when nature and our plans come together for a season like this. The people who love figs will love the 2016 season.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Officials anticipate slightly reduced New Mexico onion volume

Katie Goetz, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, said the effects of winter weather are expected to reduce the state’s onion volume slightly in 2013. “New Mexico experienced a cooler-than-normal winter which affected the crop yield for over-winter onions,” she told The Produce News. “Yields are down a bit but not drastically. Some of the early onions might not size like they normally do. But spring-seeded onions should yield and size normally.”

New Mexico is home to approximately 20 onion growers and shippers concentrated in the southern part of the state. “A little more than half of the state’s onion acreage is typically in Dona Ana County, while the remainder is grown in Luna and Sierra counties,” she said. The majority of production is conventional.

OpenerShot-NM-OnionsAt the peak of summer harvest, New Mexico is a major onion supplier for the nation. (Photo courtesy of 20/20 Produce Sales Inc.)All onions grown are non-storage. “New Mexico onion growers produce mostly yellows,” Goetz went on to say. “But there are some whites and some reds. The major varieties of commercially grown New Mexico onions include Grano, Granex, Sweet Spanish and midsummer hybrids such as the popular Nu-Mex variety.”

The state’s onion shipping season begins in late May and generally continues to late August. According to Goetz, some sheds can ship through mid-September. “The retail market is the biggest market for New Mexico onions,” she said. “But a few shippers also sell them through the foodservice and/or processing channels.”

In addition to the domestic marketplace, onions grown in New Mexico are marketed in Canada and Mexico.

On June 10, the National Agricultural Statistics Service New Mexico Field Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on the condition of New Mexico’s onion crop. “Onion conditions ranged from fair to excellent,” the report stated, noting that 22 percent of the crop had been harvested.

On June 17, the National Potato and Onion Report provided data about pricing of the 2013 New Mexico Onion crop. Demand that day was moderate. Pricing for yellow Grano 50-pound sacks of super colossals was $ 12; colossals were $ 9-$ 10; jumbos were $ 8-$ 9; and mediums were $ 9. Repack sizes were $ 7-$ 8.

Fifty-pound sacks of jumbo white onions sold for $ 12-$ 14, and mediums sold for $ 10-$ 12. Twenty-five pound sacks of Red globe jumbos sold for $ 9-$ 10, and mediums sold for $ 7-$ 9.

In its report, Vegetables (September 2012), NASS provided historical data on New Mexico’s onion crop. According to the report, growers planted a total of 5,500 acres in 2012, down 10 percent from 2011. Growers harvested 5,400 acres in 2012, down 9 percent from the previous crop year. The production level for 2012 was set at 2.9 million hundredweight, up 9 percent from 2011.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Peru: Exportable mango volume could drop by 30 to 40%

Peru: Exportable mango volume could drop by 30 to 40%

Peru’s exportable mango volume could drop by between 30% and 40% compared to last year, when it amounted to 136,000 tonnes, as reported by the general manager of the Peruvian Association of Producers and Exporters of Mango (APEM), Juan Carlos Rivera. 

In this regard, he noted that a group of representatives of APEM have visited many of the fields in Piura, Lambayeque and Ancash (main mango producing regions) and have found that there is less flowering than in the previous season.

“We have seen that the flowering is at about 60% compared to the previous season and I think if the weather continues as now it could eventually reach 70%, which would result in us exporting about 100,000 tonnes of mango. I hope we don’t have a warm spring,” he stated. 

The representative of APEM explained that this decrease is due to alternation, which results in one year’s production being good and the next bad. This, in combination with the warm temperatures recorded on the northern shore during the winter, have prevented a better flowering. 

In this regard, he pointed out that this lower mango production will have no negative effects on trade; on the contrary, “with the lower supply, the fruit’s prices are expected to improve.” 

The mango industry is in a maturing stage 

Furthermore, Juan Carlos Rivera said that the mango industry is in a maturing stage. Companies are now more concerned about being efficient and producing a better quality fruit than by increasing the area cultivated. “The industry is currently becoming integrated; companies have their own fields, their own processing plants and even do their own marketing.” 

Another aspect indicating that the sector is moving forward is the search for new quality standards through a quality label or by means of international certifications such as HACCP, Global GAP, among others.

APEM also works on improving product quality. “We are currently preparing a Fresh Peruvian Mango Quality Manual, to be published in November during the Peruvian Mango International Congress.

80% of Peru’s mango exports correspond to the Kent variety, while the rest are Tommy Atkins, Tommy Haden, Keitt, Edward and Ataulfo​​. Juan Carlos Rivera noted that the latter two are growing, but their share is still very small.

Source: agraria.pe
 

Publication date: 9/25/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Early start, normal volume expected for Wonderful pomegranates

Field supervisors continue to anticipate normal volume but an early start for the Wonderful variety pomegranate. This popular variety accounts for more than 80 percent of the pomegranates shipped from California.

As of Sept. 2, orchards from Fresno south were still running a week early, with an anticipated start harvest date in the last week of September.

“The early varieties have moved smoothly into the distribution channels and the decks are now cleared for the Wonderful variety,” Jeff Simonian of Simonian Fruit said in a press release. “Retailers are finding strong demand for the early varieties, but there are still some retailers who hold heavy promotion until the Wonderfuls arrive.”

According to Tom Rouse of PomWonderful, the largest pomegranate grower in the world and an exclusive Wonderful shipper, said, “We like the larger size, high color and superior sugar found in this variety. We’ll start shipping the first week of October, with the harvest continuing until early November, if Mother Nature cooperates. We anticipate peaking on 22/30, but will be able to supply promotable quantities of all sizes.”

He added that “an increasing percentage of their shipments are going out in the very popular self shipper. The stand-alone unit provides incremental profit in previously unused floor space in the produce section, or near the check-out. Pomegranates are a high-impulse purchase item, so it’s important to put them in a high traffic location where shoppers can find them.”

“California is expected to harvest and ship more than 6 million fresh-market boxes of pomegranates this season,” Tom Tjerandsen, manager of the Sonoma, CA-based Pomegranate Council, added in the press release.

Tjerandsen said approximately 40 percent of California’s pomegranates are exported, principally to Canada, South Korea and Taiwan. Russia had been a rapidly growing market, but with the continuing help of the MAP program, other developing export markets will replace that volume.”

The foodservice industry continues to find new ways to use pomegranates. The new easy-to-use tray-packed or cup arils can be used to add color to salads, mixed drinks and all plate presentations. Patrons appreciate the addition of this exceptionally high-nutrition component.

Many new products are being launched with a pomegranate component. They range from nutritional supplements and juices, to skin care products. Continuing consumes and general efficacy testing will result in many more products that will take advantage of the rapidly growing popularity of pomegranates.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Expanding export markets important to moving increased Washington apple volume

The Washington Apple Commission continues with due diligence to promote exports of the state’s ever-increasing apple volume. “With the larger anticipated Washington apple crop, we are putting heavy emphasis on export opportunity,” President Todd Fryhover told The Produce News. “I can say all programs are fully funded and we’re hopeful to see a 20-percent increase or more for 2014-15.”

Buzz in the orchard is translating to excitement for a successful season. “With 140 million [boxes] on the trees, the first exports will begin right away,” Fryhover commented.ExportOverview1Last season, the Washington Apple Commission launched a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission) Movement to Mexico, Canada and Taiwan continues to be robust, and important markets are developing in Southeast Asia and Central America.

Fryhover provided some numbers that illustrate the importance of export markets. “The 2013-14 WA apple crop is approximately 115 [million boxes]. For [2014-15], the August estimate indicates 140.19 [million boxes], our largest crop, above the 2012-13 volume of 128.25 [million boxes],” he stated. “Thirty-four percent is our goal and has been the percentage in past seasons. We are enthusiastically working towards reaching this goal this season.”

Levels of increased production in Washington’s apple industry have been carefully planned. “Some of the numbers above might seem daunting,” Fryhover continued. “However, I would like to point out that we have been investing in more productive orchards, new varieties with a taste and texture for everyone, technology at the warehousing level and generally getting better and better at growing, packing and delivering high quality apples worldwide.”

Prospects are good as the harvest approaches. “I’ve been around a long time, and this is one of the most ‘even’ crop loads I’ve seen,” he stated. “Providing Mother Nature doesn’t create issues or labor is short, this should be a good season.”

Last season, WAC initiated a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. Export Marketing Director Rebecca Lyons said the program was highly successful. Lyons spoke with The Produce News to explain the concept of the campaign and the successes achieved.

“We wanted to create a region-wide campaign to engage our target consumers, women between the ages of 25 to 45, and appeal to their desire to feed their families delicious, wholesome food,” Lyons commented. “Using the reputation of Washington apples coming from a safe, clean and healthy environment, the campaign focused on mothers providing only the best for their families.”

Most of the promotional events associated with the campaign were held between November 2013 and March 2014. “Activities included specially designed point-of-sale material, display contests, consumer games and activities, in-store demonstrations and sampling, roadshows and other market-specific activities,” Lyons went on to say.

The countries targeted by the Mother’s Love campaign were Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. “Together, these countries account for over 4.5 million 40-lb cartons of Washington apples, worth approximately $ 93 million in f.o.b. sales,” she stated. “Although due to the smaller crop versus 2012-13, our overall exports have decreased by over 7 percent, these countries — with the exception of Thailand, which decreased 5 percent — have all shown strong increases this season. During the campaign, we saw overall shipments to the markets increase an average of 50 percent compared to the same time frame last year.”

WAC plans to expand the program within current Southeast Asian markets. “We are increasing the program reach beyond the major metro regions to appeal to consumers in outlying regions, which are experiencing strong growth in retail penetration and offer additional opportunities for Washington apples, particularly Red Delicious,” Lyons said.

Although Red Delicious accounts for approximately 50 percent of Washington apple exports, Lyons said Mother’s Love was not a variety-specific promotion. “We did encourage retailers to feature multi-varietal displays to heighten the visual appeal to consumers. We are seeing more and more displays of three or more varieties in the organized retail sector,” she said. “They want to provide their customers with choices, and Washington certainly offers a lot of them.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Expanding export markets important to moving increased Washington apple volume

The Washington Apple Commission continues with due diligence to promote exports of the state’s ever-increasing apple volume. “With the larger anticipated Washington apple crop, we are putting heavy emphasis on export opportunity,” President Todd Fryhover told The Produce News. “I can say all programs are fully funded and we’re hopeful to see a 20-percent increase or more for 2014-15.”

Buzz in the orchard is translating to excitement for a successful season. “With 140 million [boxes] on the trees, the first exports will begin right away,” Fryhover commented.ExportOverview1Last season, the Washington Apple Commission launched a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy of the Washington Apple Commission) Movement to Mexico, Canada and Taiwan continues to be robust, and important markets are developing in Southeast Asia and Central America.

Fryhover provided some numbers that illustrate the importance of export markets. “The 2013-14 WA apple crop is approximately 115 [million boxes]. For [2014-15], the August estimate indicates 140.19 [million boxes], our largest crop, above the 2012-13 volume of 128.25 [million boxes],” he stated. “Thirty-four percent is our goal and has been the percentage in past seasons. We are enthusiastically working towards reaching this goal this season.”

Levels of increased production in Washington’s apple industry have been carefully planned. “Some of the numbers above might seem daunting,” Fryhover continued. “However, I would like to point out that we have been investing in more productive orchards, new varieties with a taste and texture for everyone, technology at the warehousing level and generally getting better and better at growing, packing and delivering high quality apples worldwide.”

Prospects are good as the harvest approaches. “I’ve been around a long time, and this is one of the most ‘even’ crop loads I’ve seen,” he stated. “Providing Mother Nature doesn’t create issues or labor is short, this should be a good season.”

Last season, WAC initiated a new regional marketing campaign, Mother’s Love, in Southeast Asia. Export Marketing Director Rebecca Lyons said the program was highly successful. Lyons spoke with The Produce News to explain the concept of the campaign and the successes achieved.

“We wanted to create a region-wide campaign to engage our target consumers, women between the ages of 25 to 45, and appeal to their desire to feed their families delicious, wholesome food,” Lyons commented. “Using the reputation of Washington apples coming from a safe, clean and healthy environment, the campaign focused on mothers providing only the best for their families.”

Most of the promotional events associated with the campaign were held between November 2013 and March 2014. “Activities included specially designed point-of-sale material, display contests, consumer games and activities, in-store demonstrations and sampling, roadshows and other market-specific activities,” Lyons went on to say.

The countries targeted by the Mother’s Love campaign were Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. “Together, these countries account for over 4.5 million 40-lb cartons of Washington apples, worth approximately $ 93 million in f.o.b. sales,” she stated. “Although due to the smaller crop versus 2012-13, our overall exports have decreased by over 7 percent, these countries — with the exception of Thailand, which decreased 5 percent — have all shown strong increases this season. During the campaign, we saw overall shipments to the markets increase an average of 50 percent compared to the same time frame last year.”

WAC plans to expand the program within current Southeast Asian markets. “We are increasing the program reach beyond the major metro regions to appeal to consumers in outlying regions, which are experiencing strong growth in retail penetration and offer additional opportunities for Washington apples, particularly Red Delicious,” Lyons said.

Although Red Delicious accounts for approximately 50 percent of Washington apple exports, Lyons said Mother’s Love was not a variety-specific promotion. “We did encourage retailers to feature multi-varietal displays to heighten the visual appeal to consumers. We are seeing more and more displays of three or more varieties in the organized retail sector,” she said. “They want to provide their customers with choices, and Washington certainly offers a lot of them.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Eubanks seeing high volume of quality South Carolina peaches moving though the pipeline

COLUMBIA, SC — Supermarket produce departments are moving an excellent volume of quality South Carolina peaches this summer, despite a cold snap that damaged early-season peaches in the state, according to Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

“We lost the first six weeks of the growing season due to a late-spring freeze, but we’ve had high-volume and high-quality peaches in our peak production months of July and August,” Eubanks said Aug. 1. “We will see volume falling off late this month, with some shipments into September.”

A 28-year veteran of the department and an old hand at riding the weather roller coaster for produce crops, Eubanks added,  “We had several bad spells of weather. Another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost.”

Handling is critical for peaches, and Eubanks stressed, “They are hand-picked in a ‘hard-ripe’ condition so they won’t be bruised in shipping. Then they are chilled for a day, which puts them to sleep so they don’t ripen further until placed on the shelf.”

The slumbering peaches arrive at supermarkets in prime condition.

South Carolina, despite being a small state (41st in size among the 50 states), ranks high in produce. It is the nation’s second-largest grower of peaches, behind California, and ahead of Georgia, which is known as “The Peach State.” It places in the top 10 for leafy greens, cantaloupe, peanuts, watermelons, tomatoes, mixed vegetables and sweet potatoes, Eubanks noted, and its Southeast location allows overnight shipments to reach most of the U.S. population.

Other advantages include 842 miles of interstate highways and 9,500 miles of state primary roads, the flow of the growing seasons and “growers learning and adapting to make the state’s produce better,” he said.

Over his nearly three decades at the department, Eubanks said, the number of produce stock keeping units has grown from about 60 to more than 500 — some SKUs reflecting new processing for existing products, others, such as broccoli, due to new varieties.

“Diversity has increased rapidly, and that’s a real plus,” he said. Retail marketing lessons learned over the years, Eubanks observed, include “having a program for marketing a fruit or vegetable throughout the time it is available — a season-long plan, not just one or two special promotions.”

Eubanks credits South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh E. Weathers with starting the Certified SC Grown program, which makes it easy for consumers to identify, locate and buy South Carolina produce. Weathers won a 2006 appropriation from the state legislature to begin the program, citing a consumer survey that found 90 percent of the state’s residents would buy South Carolina food products if they knew where to buy them.

On average, the state has invested $ 1 million a year in Certified SC Grown and signed up more than 1,300 participants, who invest an average of $ 7 for every $ 1 in state funding for the program.

Also in the program are 500 in-state retailers, including more than a dozen supermarket chains and several out-of-state retailers.

Eubanks said sales of South Carolina-grown fruits and vegetables climbed to more than $ 200 million from $ 131 million in 2006.

Meanwhile, Eubanks has a timely word for retailers: In South Carolina, everything’s peachy.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US (CA): Strawberry volume ahead of last year’s pace

Though fluctuating weather conditions have made this a tricky year for California’s growers, strawberry production this season is ahead of what it was at this time last year.

“The season has gone very well, considering all of the weather challenges we’re facing,” said Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for California Giant Berry Farms. “Volume has been consistent, and instead of getting sharp peaks and valleys, volume has come off smooth and consistent. So customers have been supplied in a regular fashion, instead of in swings and gaps.” In addition to smooth supplies, volume has also been ahead of last season. While production from the state’s growers reached 88.3 million flats by this week last year, production this season has reached a little over 90 million flats as of May 22. The timing of this year’s spring holidays has also meant this year’s production has sold quickly.

“Easter was late this year and close to Mother’s Day, so that helped build momentum,” said Jewell. “So retailers were ready to promote when volume was there.” Jewell predicted that the lead the state’s growers have over last year’s production will continue through the rest of the season, into October.

“The fact that we had a light cherry deal also meant strawberries had a dominant space in the produce department,” said Jewell. “So far, this season has gone well, flavour of berries has been great and we’re hoping to continue the positive momentum we’ve had.”

For more information:

Cindy Jewell

California Giant Berry Farms

+1 831 728 1965

FreshPlaza.com

Carolina Blueberry Association volume to see jump in 2014

The North Carolina blueberry season is ramping up, and signs are pointing to a favorable season in 2014. “Last year’s harvest was cut short by the excessive amount of rain that we had,” said Rod Bangert, general manager of the Carolina Blueberry Association. “I am hopeful that our production will be 30 percent higher than last season.”

The association, founded in 1941, is located in Garland, NC. Bangert said the cooperative has 24 members.

Although development for the 2014 crop slowed earlier due to cool weather, Bangert said production will begin around May 15, a start time similar to production last year. “The weather cooperated with the pollination process. The harvest looks excellent from a volume perspective,” Bangert told The Produce News. “If weather conditions permit, we hope to continue to ship fresh product until mid-July and continuing harvesting process berries through August.”

The lion’s share of the annual crop is marketed under the “Bonnie Blue” label to the company’s customer base. Seventy percent of blues are moved in the fresh market, with the balance taken up by frozen. The Carolina Blueberry Association has always worked to strengthen its customer base and supply quality product.

“We work with multiple retailers direct and through our broker partners,” Bangert commented.

According to the association’s website, each grower has its own packing facilities and has implemented quality assurance programs on each packingline. “Our growers practice safe farming techniques as well as safe handling in the post-harvest season,” the website states. “Shipment tracking [is] monitored daily through internal systems and lot identification. Third-party audits are AIB -certified and posted on Primus.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Total 2014 pipfruit volume shows some downturn from previous season

Alan Pollard, chief executive officer of Pipfruit New Zealand, said he expects total pipfruit production to come in at 308,078 tons in 2014. “This represents a reduction of 16,358 tons or 5 percent from the 2013 season,” he told The Produce News. Production acreage has remained virtually unchanged between the two seasons.

Pipfruit New Zealand is comprised of growers, packers and marketers of apples and pears. The association’s goals are guyAlan Pollardto develop and promote access to overseas markets; identify, undertake and fund research and development relating to the New Zealand pipfruit industry; speak on behalf of the New Zealand pipfruit industry and represent its interests; promote the development and exploitation of new plant varieties for members; and provide information and organize seminars, workshops and conferences for education and discussion of members.

In 2013, the United States was the second-largest export destination for pipfruit. “In the 2013 season, 38,065 tons of apples (of a total export volume of 319,791 tons) and 1,990 tons of pears (of a total export volume of 4,645 tons) were sent to the U.S.,” Pollard stated.

Looking at 2014 production, he went on to say, “Some regions saw some localized weather events. But in the main it was a very good growing season. The fruit size and quality of the 2014 crop is exceptional.”

Pollard said a total of 8,368 hectares were estimated to be in apple production this season. A total of 303,249 tons of apples are expected to be marketed in 2014, with a breakdown of tonnage by variety as follows: Braeburn/559,991; Royal Gala/99,395; Cox/4,150; Fuji/28,456; Granny Smith/8,188; Jazz/34,554; New Zealand Beauty/1,875; New Zealand Queen/12,055; New Zealand Rose/9,388; Cripps Pink/18,141; and other varieties/27,056.

“We are forecasting to export 4,827 tons of pears during the 2014 season,” Pollard continued. “This represents an increase of 182 tons or 4 percent over 2013.” Pear varieties produced and marketed include Taylors Gold, Packhams Triumph, Beurre Bosc and Doyenne du Comice. Chinese pears are also grown and exported.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Despite harvest delays, Walla Walla volume should be normal

Producers of Walla Walla sweet onions are expected to begin their harvest a week to 10 days behind typical timetables. Mike Locati, chairman of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee, said cold weather was the culprit.

“We had some issues in December [with the fall planted crop],” he told The Produce News. Transplants and direct-seeded onions are faring well, and Locati said temperatures were warming up in the Walla sdfaeMike LocatiWalla River Valley during April.

Walla Wallas are grown on 600 acres in the growing district. “Our volume should be normal,” he stated. Typically, 1,000 40-pound units are produced per acre. “I’m optimistic we’ll get close to that,” he added.

The harvest will ramp up toward the end of June and run through mid-August. “It’s a little early to tell about sizing,” he stated, but he expects adequate supplies of jumbos this season. “Maybe not as many colossal.”

Locati said growers are hoping for that perfect production trifecta in 2014: a good crop, good demand and “hopefully the pricing will be nice.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Stone fruit crop starts early with near-normal volume

The season is getting off to an early start for California stone fruit, with beginning harvest dates for many early varieties as much as one to two weeks ahead of normal.

Apricot and plum sets have been described as erratic, with varieties at some locations having good to fair crops on the trees and others having light or poor sets, thought to be attributable to inadequate chilling or other weather-related factors.06-Summerfruit-cropWhite peaches on the tree in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Peaches and nectarines seem to have fared better, with most growers anticipating normal or close to normal crops, although some are seeing similar, if less severe, issues to those seen in plums and apricots.

“This year, we have clearly gotten off to an early start,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Tree Fruit Agreement, April 16. “We are approximately seven to nine days earlier than last year, and last year was early. Historically, we are probably 10 to 14 days ahead of whatever could be considered normal.”

Some tree fruit was already being harvested in Coachella and on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, “and now we are going to start moving into the larger production areas as well,” Bedwell said. “I think from the initial reports, everybody feels like we’ve got good quantity and quality.”

Producing acreage on peaches, plums and nectarines is believed to be similar to the last couple of years. Some plantings have come out and some new ones have gone in, largely as growers continue switching over to newer, better varieties, but “I think you are seeing a relatively stable acreage base out there,” said Bedwell.

It looks like “a normal year” for peaches and nectarines, said Clint Lucas, who does sales and inspections for RJO Produce Marketing Inc. in Fresno, CA, May 21. With the combination of a good crop and an early start, he expects the industry to have “good supplies” available for Memorial Day ads for both yellow-flesh and white-flesh peaches and nectarines.

The plum category is “where I am hearing” the crop “might be off a little bit in terms of normal volume,” he said. However, he expects “good availability on plums post-Memorial Day.”

The tree fruit volume in California is in fewer hands than it was four or five years ago, and some acreage was pushed out in favor of other crops such as almonds or pistachios, but that situation has been stable for the last couple of years.

“I haven’t heard of any more consolidation or companies going under” this year, said Lucas.

There were some “bad years for growers” because of too much fruit on the market, he said. But “I think we have gotten away from that” and there has been “a stable market the past two or three seasons.” Supply and demand have been “pretty equal to each other.”

“I’m pretty optimistic about the summer,” said David Stone, president and CEO of Valhalla Sales & Marketing Inc. in Kingsburg, CA, April 15. The crop is “beautiful out there right now” and is sizing well, and the earliness of the season will give extra time to sell the crop.

Valhalla specializes in apricots and plums, and unlike some other growers of those commodities, he is looking at good full crops. “I have had some expensive thinning bills,” he said.

For Family Tree Farms in Reedley, CA, crop size may be down from last year, but “there are still promotable volumes of stone fruit, for sure,” said Dave Goforth, marketing director of Family Tree Farms Marketing LLC, April 17. “There is going to be less than an overflow of product, but there will still be plenty to go around.” Quality and sizing were “looking very good. I think we are going to have a fine year.”

Family Tree Farms will be “light on plums and plumcots” and off sharply on apricots, but “close to normal on peaches and nectarines,” he said.

In plums and plumcots, some varieties have close to normal sets and others have poor sets, he said. “It is mixed.” But the crop is not down as much as it first appeared. “What we thought was a very bad situation is getting better each day.”

In some orchards with a light bloom, what blossoms there were apparently set fruit better than expected, so it was beginning to appear that “we are in better shape than we thought we were,” he added.

“In general, we have a good crop,” but probably down 20 percent from 2013, said Maurice Cameron, managing partner of The Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC in Hanford, CA, April 17.

The harvest started 14 days ahead of last year’s production in some orchards for Giumarra Bros. Fruit Co. in Reedley, CA, according to Jeannine Martin, director of sales.

It is important for retailers to know that there will be volume available sooner than it has been in the past, she added. “Quality is good all around.”

How good the set is “depends on where you are,” said Justin Bedwell, managing partner at Bari Produce LLC in Madera, CA, April 11. “Some spots look a little bit better than last year. Some spots look a little worse than last year, as far as the number of pieces per tree. We think that as an average, it will be off just a little bit from last year.”

He expected to start harvesting the company’s earliest nectarine variety April 12, which is “quite a bit ahead of last year.”

For Homegrown Organic Farms, “everything looks really good,” said Stephen Paul, sales manager for stone fruit, specialty fruit and grapes, April 11. “I would consider it as a normal year. I don’t think it is light, and I don’t see it that heavy.” Quality this year appears to be “what we call almost California classic.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Stone fruit crop starts early with near-normal volume

The season is getting off to an early start for California stone fruit, with beginning harvest dates for many early varieties as much as one to two weeks ahead of normal.

Apricot and plum sets have been described as erratic, with varieties at some locations having good to fair crops on the trees and others having light or poor sets, thought to be attributable to inadequate chilling or other weather-related factors.06-Summerfruit-cropWhite peaches on the tree in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Peaches and nectarines seem to have fared better, with most growers anticipating normal or close to normal crops, although some are seeing similar, if less severe, issues to those seen in plums and apricots.

“This year, we have clearly gotten off to an early start,” said Barry Bedwell, president of the California Tree Fruit Agreement, April 16. “We are approximately seven to nine days earlier than last year, and last year was early. Historically, we are probably 10 to 14 days ahead of whatever could be considered normal.”

Some tree fruit was already being harvested in Coachella and on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, “and now we are going to start moving into the larger production areas as well,” Bedwell said. “I think from the initial reports, everybody feels like we’ve got good quantity and quality.”

Producing acreage on peaches, plums and nectarines is believed to be similar to the last couple of years. Some plantings have come out and some new ones have gone in, largely as growers continue switching over to newer, better varieties, but “I think you are seeing a relatively stable acreage base out there,” said Bedwell.

It looks like “a normal year” for peaches and nectarines, said Clint Lucas, who does sales and inspections for RJO Produce Marketing Inc. in Fresno, CA, May 21. With the combination of a good crop and an early start, he expects the industry to have “good supplies” available for Memorial Day ads for both yellow-flesh and white-flesh peaches and nectarines.

The plum category is “where I am hearing” the crop “might be off a little bit in terms of normal volume,” he said. However, he expects “good availability on plums post-Memorial Day.”

The tree fruit volume in California is in fewer hands than it was four or five years ago, and some acreage was pushed out in favor of other crops such as almonds or pistachios, but that situation has been stable for the last couple of years.

“I haven’t heard of any more consolidation or companies going under” this year, said Lucas.

There were some “bad years for growers” because of too much fruit on the market, he said. But “I think we have gotten away from that” and there has been “a stable market the past two or three seasons.” Supply and demand have been “pretty equal to each other.”

“I’m pretty optimistic about the summer,” said David Stone, president and CEO of Valhalla Sales & Marketing Inc. in Kingsburg, CA, April 15. The crop is “beautiful out there right now” and is sizing well, and the earliness of the season will give extra time to sell the crop.

Valhalla specializes in apricots and plums, and unlike some other growers of those commodities, he is looking at good full crops. “I have had some expensive thinning bills,” he said.

For Family Tree Farms in Reedley, CA, crop size may be down from last year, but “there are still promotable volumes of stone fruit, for sure,” said Dave Goforth, marketing director of Family Tree Farms Marketing LLC, April 17. “There is going to be less than an overflow of product, but there will still be plenty to go around.” Quality and sizing were “looking very good. I think we are going to have a fine year.”

Family Tree Farms will be “light on plums and plumcots” and off sharply on apricots, but “close to normal on peaches and nectarines,” he said.

In plums and plumcots, some varieties have close to normal sets and others have poor sets, he said. “It is mixed.” But the crop is not down as much as it first appeared. “What we thought was a very bad situation is getting better each day.”

In some orchards with a light bloom, what blossoms there were apparently set fruit better than expected, so it was beginning to appear that “we are in better shape than we thought we were,” he added.

“In general, we have a good crop,” but probably down 20 percent from 2013, said Maurice Cameron, managing partner of The Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC in Hanford, CA, April 17.

The harvest started 14 days ahead of last year’s production in some orchards for Giumarra Bros. Fruit Co. in Reedley, CA, according to Jeannine Martin, director of sales.

It is important for retailers to know that there will be volume available sooner than it has been in the past, she added. “Quality is good all around.”

How good the set is “depends on where you are,” said Justin Bedwell, managing partner at Bari Produce LLC in Madera, CA, April 11. “Some spots look a little bit better than last year. Some spots look a little worse than last year, as far as the number of pieces per tree. We think that as an average, it will be off just a little bit from last year.”

He expected to start harvesting the company’s earliest nectarine variety April 12, which is “quite a bit ahead of last year.”

For Homegrown Organic Farms, “everything looks really good,” said Stephen Paul, sales manager for stone fruit, specialty fruit and grapes, April 11. “I would consider it as a normal year. I don’t think it is light, and I don’t see it that heavy.” Quality this year appears to be “what we call almost California classic.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

US (CA): Kale volume up, prices slightly down

Prices for kale from California are slightly down this year compared to the previous year, and production of the popular vegetable is up from last year.

“Demand for kale is fair and about the same as many vegetable items,” said Russ Widerburg, sales manager for Boskovich Farms. He noted that prices are hovering near $ 7.75 per 24-count, which is about $ 1.50 less than average prices for the previous year. Volume has been steady, with a 10 percent increase in overall production from the previous year. As for the steady demand that the product enjoys, Widerburg credits growing exposure on cooking shows as well as the positive health benefits of the vegetable.

“Kale seemed to gain popularity again about three years ago with exposure on cooking shows and the Food Network for being such a healthy alternative,” said Correa. “This was because of the interpretation of kale being a super food full of vitamins and minerals for the health-conscious individual.”

For more information:

Lindsay Martinez

Boskovich Farms

+1 805 487 2299

FreshPlaza.com