Posts Tagged “California fig shipments”

Fig Shipments are Underway from Central San Joaquin Valley

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J. Marchini Farms of Le Grand, CA has been shipping figs since the beginning of June, which is the first short crop which lasts only a few weeks.

The fig season has now started with its main fig crop going from August to October and includes three different varieties. These include the Black Mission, Brown Turkey and Kadota varieties. Black Mission figs have a delicate, purple-black skin that conceals a dark pink flesh and are a versatile fruit that are good in a variety of savory and sweet dishes. They can be made into jellies and jam, added to other dishes or enjoyed raw.

The Kadota variety has a yellowish green thick skin with an amber color flesh when ripe. They are practically seedless, so they are often canned or dried. The Kadota is less sweet than other fig varieties which makes them good for cooking and baking.

The Brown Turkey variety has a brownish-dark purple skin with a pink flesh. They have a milder flavor and are less sweet than the Black Mission variety which makes them good to add to deserts or salads. They will have these varieties from now through the fall.

The California fig season is short and sweet but it’s the best time of year to eat a fresh fig.

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California Fig Shipments Expected Similar to Last Season

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Steady California fig shipments started in July following relative light movement in May and June.

Last year, the state shipped between 10 million to 12 million pounds of fresh figs. Overall, about 27 million pounds of fresh and dried figs were shipped. Volume for the 2020 season should be similar to last year.

All of the U.S. dried figs and 98 percent of the fresh figs are grown commercially in California.

The state has over 100 fig producers who grow on 9,300 acres, mostly in and around Madera, Fresno and Merced in Central California.

Several varieties of figs are grown in the state.

The most common are black mission, available from mid-May to November; kadota, late June to October; brown turkey, early June to November; and calimyrna, July to September.

Sierra, a newer variety with a light-colored skin and a sweet Riesling flavor, almost has replaced the calimyrna.

About 60 percent of the state’s figs are dried, with the remainder being fresh.

The Specialty Crop Co. of Madera, CA farms half of the state’s fresh and dried figs and grows just about every variety.

The company started its main crop with the brown turkey variety in mid July.

Black mission will follow, then the sierra will come on. The last variety will be a relatively new one called the tiger fig, available from mid-August until Oct. 1.

About one-third of the company’s figs are sold as fresh, the rest are dried.

Western Fresh Marketing Services Inc. of Madera grows only fresh-market figs.

The company has the southernmost field in California in the Coachella Valley, where it shipped the brown turkey variety until mid-July. 

The firm returns to the Coachella Valley in September and picks until Christmas — the latest season for fresh figs. 

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California Fig Shipments are Increasing from Central San Joaquin Valley

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DSCN0816California fresh fig shipments are increasing from the San Joaquin Valley with normal quality and volume expected.

During the past five years fig shipments have actually got underway around the middle of July, so the timing of the 2018 fresh fig season in California is about two weeks later than recent years.  Some observers compare season to be more similar to those of 10 or 20 years ago.

Stellar Distributing Inc. of Madera is one fig shipper noting the first of two fig crops this year was very light, but the second crop looks more normal.  Shipments of central San Joaquin Valley figs will continue until around Thanksgiving.

California ranks first in the nation in fig shipments, accounting for nearly 98 percent of all U.S. figs produced.

The USDA reports there were 6,100 bearing acres of figs in the U.S. in 2016, and growers shipped 31,600 tons of figs.  Of that total, 26,700 tons (84 percent) were processed.

Total fresh output has remained steady in recent years, though bearing acreage has declined slightly with improving yields.   Fresh fig production in 2016 was 4,900 tons,  or about 10 million pounds.

Western Fresh Marketing of Madera, CA has been packing brown turkey figs out of the California desert region since late May.

Desert region fig shipments are coming to a seasonal close, although harvest in the desert will resume later in the year with the return of cooler weather.

Although growing conditions have been favorable, observers say it is still impossible to tell whether the fig crop will be up or down compared with a year ago.

California fig shipments are often shipped to markets on both coasts because of the stronger demand, particularly from Florida up the East Coast and Los Angeles to Seattle on the West Coast.

In the U.S., imports of fresh figs in 2017 totaled 920,000 pounds from Mexico, 150,000 pounds from Chile and 150,000 pounds from Peru.

That is much higher than 2010, when Mexico shipped only 50,000 pounds and Chile 10,000 pounds to the U.S.

The primary fig varieties include black mission, sierras, brown turkey and kadota, with the tiger variety also significant.

San Joaquin Valley grapes and stone fruit – grossing about $9000 to Boston.

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Selected Produce Loading Opportunities from Coast to Coast

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DSCN7319From Florida in the East to California in West, to Canada in the North, here’s a look at opportunities for loadings in three different time zones.

Florida Avocado Shipments

South Florida avocado shipments will get underway nearly a month later than normal,  beginning with light volumes in late May.  Shipments will be light in June before heaviest loadings arrive in early to mid-July.  Shipments should hit about 1 million-1.1 million-bushel this season with south Florida green-skinned varieties.

June is expected to bring considerably smaller volume than usual, but shipments are expected to catch up with bigger volume later in the season.

Southern and Central Florida watermelons, vegetables and tomatoes – grossing about $3300 to New York City.

Ontario Asparagus Shipments

Just North of the U.S. border, asparagus loadings are underway from Southern Ontario.  An estimated 85 Canadian farmers in the province grow about 3,400 acres of asparagus.  Norfolk and Elgin County have the bulk of Ontario’s asparagus farms, but there are others located in Chatham-Kent, Waterloo and in Essex County.  The weather has been a little cool, but as soon as it warms up, asparagus grows really fast and volume will take off.

California Apricot Shipments

Last year California apricot loadings hit a record low.  Only 35,000 tons were shipped.  In a normal year like 2014, shipments totaled  55,500 tons.

Grown mostly in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties, California apricots account for about 98 percent of all apricots produced in the United States.  This year’s apricot shipments should top 50,000-tons.

California Fig Shipments

California fig loadings have been underway in light volume from the Coachella Valley.  However, with the close of May primary volume will have shifted to the Southern San Joaquin Valley, although it will be mid June before shipments hit stride.  Two primary fig shippers are Western Fresh Marketing and Stellar Distributing, both based in Madera, CA, the heart of fig country.  About 35 percent of the fig volume goes to the fresh market, with the remainder being dried.

California fig growers produce 100 percent of the dried figs and 98 percent of the fresh figs grown in the United States.

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