California peach, plum and nectarine growers are expecting a 50.5 million container crop for the 2007 season, according to the California Tree Fruit Agreement in Reedley. Projections are for 20.2 million 25-pound containers of peaches, 19 million 25-pound containers of nectarines, and 11.3 million 28-pound containers of plums to be harvested.
Although the crop is expected to be slightly larger than last year's, it is still slightly less than 2005 or 2004. Harvests in the past three seasons have totaled 47.5 million, 50.9 million and 50.8 million containers in 2006, 2005 and 2004, respectively.
Timing appears to be mixed, but roughly normal to two to three days behind the historical average. It is comparable to that of the 2005 season.
As of early May, early varieties of peaches and nectarines were estimated to be a week ahead of 2006, a year with moderately delayed crop timing. As the crop moves out of low-chill varieties and into high-chill varieties around mid-May, it is expected that timing will range from a week to 10 days ahead of 2006.
In terms of fruit development, weather throughout the pre-season period remained ideal. Warm weather during bloom sped crop progress. A long period of cool and moderate weather following the bloom period allowed for even fruit growth and maturity.
Flavor on early varieties has been reported to be good to very good so far. Sizing is slightly reduced in the early varieties, with fruit coming in roughly a half-size smaller than normal. As the season progresses, fruit size is expected to increase.