Peak California pomegranate shipments are now underway and will continue through November, before the season closes at the end of the year.
Observers estimate put the fresh crop loadings this year at close to 6 million boxes in 2019, down 15 to 20 percent compared to forecasts earlier in the season.
The very earliest pomegranate varieties — principally granadas and early wonderful — got underway in mid-August. The wonderful variety accounts for about 70 percent of the state’s total volume.
The USDA reports California fresh pomegranate shipments totalled 38.9 million pounds in 2018, more than double 2017 shipments of 14.4 million pounds.k
Beyond whole fresh pomegranates, fresh pomegranate arils (seeds), are gaining in popularity and retailers such as Costco and Walmart have expanded their fresh aril offerings. Trinity Fruit of Fresno, CA is now shipping dried arils.
Pomegranate acreage in California has been growing fast over the past 20 years. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported bearing and non-bearing acreage of pomegranate totaled 30,917 acres, down slightly from 32,226 in 2012 but up from 24,458 in 2007, 9,529 acres in 2002 and just 4,672 in 1997.