California desert shipments for fresh grapes and vegetables from the Coachella Valley are gearing up.
California’s Coachella Valley grape shipments should get underway in very light volume around May 10th, with loadings to be down only slightly from last season.
Table grapes are grown from 7,000-acres in the area located just east of Palm Springs. Volume should be about 4 to 4.5 million 18-pound cartons, down from about 4.8 million cartons a year ago. While some shipping operation finish earlier than others, some such as Richard Bagdasarian Inc. of Mecca, CA continue through the middle of July.
Early variety grapes in the Coachella Valley will have lighter volume due to inadequate chill hours. However, the midseason or later grapes in the Coachella Valley should have more normal volumes, which should start occurring by the end of May, just in time for shipments for Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28.
From Memorial Day into June Coachella grapes shipments should be at a peak. Coachella grape volume is miniscule compared to grape shipments from the San Joaquin Valley that will get underway by late June or early July as the Coachella season is winding down.
Coachella Valley vegetable shipments are expected to be average this season with items such as peppers, watermelons and sweet corn, with good volume during May and June.
Prime Time International, which is headquartered in Coachella, is expecting good shipments of colored red, yellow and orange peppers as well as watermelons and sweet corn during May and June. The Coachella Valley shipping season typically lasts about eight weeks and typically ends when the desert temperatures get too hot. Coachella watermelon shipments are expected to be heavier than normal this season..
The Coachella Valley is a desert valley in Southern California extending approximately 45 miles in Riverside County southeast from the San Bernardino MountainsS to the northern shore of the Salton Sea. It is approximately 15 miles wide along most of its length, bounded on the west by the San Jacinto Mountains and the Santa Rosa Mountains on the north and east by the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The San Andres Fault crosses the valley from the Chocolate Mountains in the southeast corner and along the centerline of the Little San Bernardinos. The fault is easily visible along its northern length as a strip of greenery against an otherwise bare mountain.