Grape grower-shippers expect a smooth transition to the San Joaquin Valley, with good demand for large, high-quality fruit.

Champagnes should emerge as the first San Joaquin variety out of the chute for HMC Group Marketing Inc., Kingsburg, Calif., around June 15, said Shane Souza, table grape category manager.

San Joaquin growers expect excellent grape crop

                                       Courtesy Pandol Bros. Inc. 

Summer royal shipments from Pandol Bros. Inc., Delano, Calif., should begin July 20, says vice president of sales Anthony Stetson.

Flames should follow about July 4, thompsons July 20, globes and autumn royals Aug. 20 and crimsons Sept. 1, Souza said.

Shipments from Mexico and from California’s Coachella Valley should taper off enough to open the door for San Joaquin product come mid-June, Souza predicted.

“I think we’ll step into the valley with a pretty wide-open market, with higher prices at the beginning,” he said.

On June 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $22.10 for 18-pound lugs of large seedless flames from the Coachella Valley, up from $14.10-15.10 last year at the same time.

Winter and spring movement bode well for the San Joaquin deal, which for the Chuck Olsen Co., Visalia, Calif., should kick off about July 4 with flames, said owner Chuck Olsen.

“I’m rather happy about the way grapes have moved at retail — from Chile, Mexico and Coachella,” he said.

Looking ahead to the beginning of the San Joaquin deal, rain could limit volumes from Mexico, and Olsen said the remaining Coachella crop was “a very marketable size and moving very well.”

Pandol Bros. Inc., Delano, Calif., expects flame shipments from Coachella to wind down by the end of June, clearing the way for the company’s Arvin flame deal, projected to kick off July 1, said   Anthony Stetson, vice president of sales.

“We expect solid demand,” he said.

Pandol should follow with summer royals and thompsons July 20, Stetson said.

At the beginning of June, Mother Nature was on track to craft a high-quality San Joaquin crop, Souza said.

“The growers are pretty happy with the weather so far,” he said.

“We’ve seen good shatter, so we should have excellent quality. At this point, we’re looking at some pretty large sizes.”

Stetson also reported good shatter and excellent quality and size profile. Olsen reported good quality.

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