Initial Florida strawberry shipments got underway with the arrival of December and a good, quality crop is being reported.
Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville, CA, also grows strawberries in Wimauma, south of Tampa, and will continue to ship strawberries from there until mid- to late March.
The Florida Strawberry Growers Association Inc. in Dover, FL predicts the state will have about 10,000 acres of strawberries this season.
Astin Strawberry Exchange of Plant City, FL has increased its organic berries this season, and similar to conventional berries, should have good volume the first half of December, peak shipments taking place from late January until mid-March. Heaviest volume for the company occurs during February. Astin’s organic production is up 40 percent, while conventional volume has increased by 10 percent. The company expects to ship 6 million flats this season.
California grape shipments and how long they will last has importers in a quandry.
Vanguard International USA, Inc. of Issaquah, WA reports if the quality of California table grapes hold up, the harvest could last until the end of the year, with shipments lasting into January. At the same time Vanguard points out Peru’s global grape shipments were up 40 percent year-on-year to 3.4 million boxes as of October 31st. But U.S. buyers will stick with California grapes as long as the quality is there.
Meanwhile, the California industry set a new 5-year record shipping 23 million boxes worldwide between September 8th and October 12th.
Pandol Bros. Inc. of Delano, CA believes the total California crop might even be 10 million more boxes than 2017. Pandol noted in 2017, late season grape shipments were disappointing because there were so many cold storages full of aging grapes. There are some concerns this year over a repeat of last season.
Pandol reports most retailers are planning to transition to Peruvian grapes later this season, which would be in January, instead of the second half of December. The company also observed retailers know the ports can be problematic around the Christmas and New Year holidays and the logistics of trucking from California are more reliable.
Chile’s table grapes have been hit by a recent hail storm, but the extent of damage is yet to be assessed. It is expected that the bad weather has slashed the walnut crop in half, while the cherry crop could have up to $100 million in losses.