California pomegranate shipments are returning to normal this season following two years of being down some.
The Pomegranate Council of Sonoma, CA reports a year ago there was heavy rain and hail during the bloom and a lot of bloom drop led to a crop being about 18 percent below normal.
This season shipments are expect to be about 6 million to 6.5 million 25-pound box equivalents. Typically 20 to 25 percent of California’s pomegranates are exported.
The council reports continuing heavy demand from overseas markets, although there is a lot of uncertainty regarding transportation as airlines reduce flights and ships are not making deliveries at the same rates they have in the past.
The California pomegranate harvest normally starts south of Bakersfield in the Wheeler Ridge area in mid- to late August.
The early varieties start shipping the second week of October, until the wonderful variety comes on, which accounts for about 70 percent of the harvest.
While a few pomegranates are grown in Utah, Georgia, Texas and Arizona, 95 percent or more of the domestic pomegranates are grown in California between Bakersfield and Fresno.
Growers harvest pomegranates as long as they can, often well into November.