Early indications call for California tree fruit to come in heavier volumes than last season, though it certainly won’t be a bumper crop, said Dale Janzen, field director of the California Tree Fruit Agreement, Reedley.

Production of early varieties of peaches and nectarines should begin around April 20 from the Arvin-Bakersfield area, he said. Plums won’t be available until the first week of May.

Supplies of Chilean tree fruit probably will clear the U.S. pipeline by April 22, said Rick Schellenberg, owner and operator of Schellenberg Farms, and a salesman for Gerawan Farming, both of Reedley.

Meanwhile, some shippers will help fill the gap between Chile and heavy California volumes with Mexican peaches. Schellenberg said he expects shipments from Hermosillo, Mexico, to begin this week.

In early April, the timing of California’s peaches and nectarines was shaping up well to promote the fruit for the Memorial Day, which falls May 27, Janzen said.

Still, one shipper in the Reedley area, who wished not to be identified, said he expects initial harvests there to begin in mid-May, which could make it hard to reach East Coast markets in time for the holiday.

In early April, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the following Los Angeles f.o.b.s for two-layer traypacks of peaches from Chile: yellow-flesh varieties 30-60s mostly $10 and various white-flesh varieties 30-50s $10-12. Two-layer traypacks of autumn pride plums were at $10-11 for 40s, 48-50s $8-9 and 60s $7-8.

The USDA’s first price reports for California peaches last year, in mid-May, showed the following f.o.b.s for two-layer traypacks of yellow-flesh varieties: 48s-50s $26, 54-56s $24 and 60-64s mostly $20.

Last season’s crop produced 21 million 25-pound boxes of nectarines, 21.6 25-pound boxes of peaches and 14.9 million 28-pound boxes of plums, Janzen said.

The industry expects to increase production this year by at least 1 million boxes each for the peaches and nectarines, he said. Plums could see a more subtle increase, maybe 500,000 boxes, he said. Formal estimates for the overall crop should be available May 1.

Peach and nectarine acreage is climbing slowly, but plums look to be more consistent, Janzen said. More people are planting pluots — a cross between plums and apricots —than plums.