Cool, wet weather in many of the main growing regions in California has growers a little off schedule.
Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, predicted a two-week delay for peaches, nectarines, plums and melons from California, blaming the late spring cold.
“Volumes will be down,” Schueller said April 15. “The bloom was affected as well, but we don’t know how much yet.”
Supply issues will work out by late spring, said Tom Deardorff II, president of Oxnard, Calif.-based Deardorff Family Farms. Schueller thought summer grapes could be affected.
“We certainly saw the effects of a cooler and wetter winter here in coastal California,” Deardorff said.
“In particular, we had reduced yields. These issues will naturally fade into a stronger than normal summer season.”
Keith Parker, organic product manager for Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms, said the company had some issues with its Southern California berry crops, but because the Salinas Valley had a nice spring, its organic strawberry production in the valley actually started a few weeks ahead of schedule.
“We were able to get in a little early, and that saved us,” Parker said.
“We’re not a really big player in Oxnard — we usually wait until April when Salinas gets going — but we were able to start shipping fruit in March.”
The three- to four-week head start gave the company access to strong markets, Parker said. Parker said raspberries were on the market by mid-April, and expected blackberries to follow by mid-May.
Cool weather has also slowed things down in Washington, where Wenatchee-based Stemilt Growers Inc. expects to be slightly late with organic cherries.
“On the stone fruit side, apricots will be down this year,” said Brianna Shales, communications manager. “They bloom first and are most susceptible to frost.”
The company’s peach and nectarine crop appear to be normal in size, Shales said.
Schueller said similar weather patterns in Mexico have also affected organic vegetables coming from south of the border.