A cool, wet spring in California’s San Joaquin Valley set back the region’s grape deal, but promotable volumes were expected to start shipping by the last week of July.
Pat Simas, salesman for King Fresh Produce LLC, Dinuba, Calif., expected things to begin returning to normal the week of July 25.
“The supply is short now, but it’s looking to change shortly,” he said July 19. “We have really good quality coming within a few days.”
King Fresh expects retail promotions on flames to begin the week of July 25, with thompson and princess promotions likely to follow at the end of July or beginning of August.
Visalia, Calif.-based The Chuck Olsen Co. expects promotable volumes by the end of July or first week of August, said Jeff Olsen, vice president. Temperatures in the mid-90s the week of July 18 were helping fruit mature.
“They’re slowly getting sugar, and more and more fruit is moving,” he said. “Everybody’s excited to get going. We have to get retail prices down to decent levels.”
On July 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $22.10-26.10 for 19-pound containers of large flames from California’s Kern County, up from prices of $15.10-16.10 on July 27, 2010.
Flames, summer royals and princesses will be among Olsen’s top varieties in the first half of August, with crimsons, scarlet royals and other varieties to follow.
When those later varieties start shipping, however, is hard to say, Olsen said.
“A lot depends on how they color up,” he said.
Flames, thompsons and fantasies will be the top three out of the gate for Royal Madera Vineyards, Madera, Calif., said Stephen Cerniglia, salesman.
Crimsons, autumn royals and globes are expected to follow in late August or early September, Cerniglia said.
Royal Madera expects to have promotable supplies through October.
Despite the late start, Simas wasn’t worried about a potential glut as shippers and retailers try to make up for lost time.
“I think we’ll have enough to have good ads, which should help with the volume,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a situation where there’s a super oversupply.”
With the cooler weather this growing season, fruit color is outstanding, Olsen said. Olsen, Cerniglia and Simas all reported good overall quality and size profile.