The harvest of Chilean table grapes in the Atacama region kicked off in mid December, one week behind last season, yielding mostly white seedless grapes (Sugraone, Prime Seedless, and Timson), as well as a lower volume of Flame Seedless.
The Chilean Fresh Fruits Association reports exports of table grapes got underway with the New Year, with just 475 tons shipped globally during the first week. A total of 219 tons were destined to North America, which is Chile’s largest export market. Exports to this market will continue to ramp up.
Last season, Chile exported a total of 600,960 tons with about 50 percent shipped to North America. It is expected the number will increase in 2021.
There will be increased volumes of the more popular newer varieties (Timco, Sweet Celebration, Allison, etc.) and lower volumes of varieties such as Flame Seedless.
Stone fruit volume will hit high gear in February and runs through April.
Through mid-December, Chile has shipped 370 tons of plums globally including 201 tons to North America. Early pickings focused on Early Queen and Big Fusion varieties.
With nectarines, 2,992 tons were shipped through the same time period with 1,084 destined for North America. Early picking focused on Zee Fire, Rio Red and Early Juan varieties.
As for peaches, so far 2,550 tons have been shipped globally with 64 percent headed to North America. The main varieties harvested season to date have been Early Majestic and Super Rich.
Chilean berry shipments have been particularly strong, resulting in 13.6 percent growth compared to the same period last year.
The country started exporting blueberries to North America in mid-August, but there were only small volumes until mid-November, and very concentrated in organics from the northern region. The first week that Chile shipped more than 1,000 tons to North America was November 16-22.
Peak loadings by boat are underway from Chile, with good weekly through February. The forecast calls for 111,500 tons of total fresh blueberry exports, 2 percent higher than last season.
Total shipped volume (globally) through December 13 was 26,127 tons with about half of all volume shipped heading for North America. Still, the number of imports to the U.S. is down about 11 percent from last season.