California pomegranate shipments are expected to be off about 15 percent this season.
A freeze in California’s San Joaquin Valley earlier this year is attributed to most of the decline. In a normal year, about 6 million, 25-pound boxes are shipped. This year the estimated loadings will be around 5 million to 5.5 million boxes.
The Wonderful Co. of Los Angeles reports it will have adequate volume for customers this season despite tighter supplies and higher costs for labor, transportation and water.
Crown Jewels Produce Co. LLC of Fresno, CA began harvesting pomegranates the second week of September on the early foothills variety, followed by the wonderful variety in early October.
Trinity Fruit Sales Co. Inc. of Fresno is experiencing much heavier volume this season with its early variety of pomegranates, with lighter than usual volume with its later variety.
At DJ Forry C. of Pismo Beach, CA, the company notes fewer shipments have occurred the past three years due to an oversupply, with some growers even bulldozing trees. Declining profits have been reported whether for juice, arils (a specialized outgrowth from a seed that partly or completely covers the seed) or fresh market.
Simonian Fruit Co. of Fowler, CA began harvest the third week of September and expects to be shipping pomegranates into December, or perhaps January. The company is reporting good sizing, color and overall quality.
Although the U.S. ranks third in pomegranate production, the top two producers — China and India — sell most of their fruit domestically, leaving much of the export market to the U.S..
The U.S. exports 30 to 40 percent of its crop to Canada, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.