Posts Tagged “California grape shipments”

Update: Estimated 25 Million Boxes of California Grapes Lost to Hurricane Hilary

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Fresno, CA – Hurricane Hilary delivered wind and rain to many of California’s table grape vineyards at peak harvest time for most of the 90 varieties grown in the state. The immediate aftermath of the hurricane brought additional rain and humidity to many growing areas, compounding problems and loss.

“The impact of the hurricane and its aftermath is devastating
and heartbreaking,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “To say that the grower and farmworker community is in shock is an understatement.”

With approximately 30 percent of the crop harvested when the hurricane hit, it is projected that 35 percent of the remaining crop – 25 million boxes – has been lost.

“The revised estimatefor the California crop is 71.9 million 19-pound boxes,” said Nave. “The last time the crop was
under 75 million boxes was 1994.”

Noting that it is typical for California to ship over 65 percent of its crop after September 1, Nave said that based on the revised estimate there are still over 45 million boxes of grapes the industry plans to ship.

“Reaching consumers at retail stores is a major focus of the work done
by the commission,” Nave said. “Partnering with retailers to get grapes on store shelves and to promote them to consumers is work that will continue throughout the season.”

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Hilary Hits California Grapes; 20% Reduction is Seen with Remaining Crop

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Only about 30 percent of California’s table grapes had been shipped with Tropical Storm Hilary hit the San Joaquin Valley on August 20th. So about 20 percent of the remaining 70 percent of the grapes have been affected
The storm crossed Baja California, and also dropped rain in Sonora, en route to California.

Pandol Bros., Inc., of Delano, CA  reports about 20% of the remaining California grape crop has been damaged. About 25-30% of the total fresh California table grape harvest was complete. So, of the remaining 70%, 20% was harmed by Hilary.

It was organic and white varieties that were most damaged. The later season red and black varieties have thicker skins and weathered the storm in better shape. So grape shipments from the middle part of the season, which is occurring now, will be affected most.

The 20% loss will be felt immediately, running to the middle of November. The crop should then be normal until it ends in late November.

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Oppy Expects to Expand Grape Volume by 20% This Year

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Visalia, CA — Further strengthening its supply in California, Oppy, is introducing new acreage under the Ocean Spray label.

Oppy kicks off the San Joaquin Valley season from ranches in Wasco, through McFarland, Pixley, Farmersville and Strathmore. Together, these five regions are expected to produce 20% more than Oppy harvested in 2022 as more acreage comes online.

“We are well-poised to meet the increasing demand for high-quality grapes with both domestic and internationally grown fruit,” said Senior Vice President of Categories and Marketing James Milne. “As the California industry compresses, Oppy ranches continue to grow alongside consumption. We’ve prepared for this transition, bringing Piers Hanbury onto our team last year.”

Building T&G’s export grape category in California a decade ago, Hanbury eventually oversaw its global grape program, leading supply to and from the U.S. including Peru, Chile, Australia, South Africa, Asia and Europe. Hanbury’s expertise and strategic approach encompassed new variety licensing deals and breeding programs.

“We look towards a fantastic five-month season in California as we ensure stable year-round supply with our transition to Peru, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and Mexico,” said Hanbury.

About Oppy

Oppy, based in Vancouver, BC has been growing, marketing and distributing fresh produce from around the globe for 165 years. With over 50 million boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables grown on every continent moving through its supply chain annually, Oppy offers items from avocados and berries to apples and oranges year-round, alongside innovative seasonal specialties. Over the years, Oppy has introduced North Americans to a number of items across its diverse produce range, including Granny Smith, JAZZ and Envy apples, as well as green and gold kiwifruit.

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Lighter, Later Fruit Loadings from California are Finally about Ready to Crank Up

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A difficult California growing season characterized by rain, snow and unusually low winter temperatures is finally giving away to more promising weather and more shipments of table grapes, strawberries and cherries.

Grape Shipments

The California table grape season starts in the Coachella Valley with harvesting just getting underway.

Harvesting in the San Joaquin Valley (Arvin) should begin in late June or early July. Early expectations are the 2023 crop will be similar or slightly larger than last season’s 95.1 million 19-pound boxes.

Autumn King, Scarlet Royal, Sheegene-20, flame and Sheegene-21 varieties accounted for 47% of the total volume in 2022. Exports accounted for 30% of the volume last season. The top three markets included Canada, Mexico and Taiwan.

Strawberry Shipments

Strawberry volume began recovering from adverse weather in early April, with shipments much lower than last year.

As of the week ending April 1, California shipments of conventional and organic strawberries totaled 8.5 million trays, down from 20 million at the same time in 2022.

Fall-planted acreage for 2023 winter, spring and summer production was 31,852 acres, up from 30,499 in 2022. About 45% of the acreage is in the Watsonville growing region, 34% is in the Santa Maria area and 20% is in Oxnard. Although some acreage was lost due to a levee break along the Pajaro River in March, about 95% of the strawberry crop was undamaged from the storm.

Cherry Shipments

California’s cherry crop will come on seven to 10 days later than usual, with picking beginning in late April or early May. California is the first state to ship cherries each year.

King Fresh Produce LLC of Dinuba, CA expects there will be good volume by May 20, with loadings continuing until about the third week of June.

Growers project this year’s crop will be slightly larger than last year’s 5.2 million 18-pound boxes, which is down from about 10 million boxes the year prior, mostly because of an unusually warm winter.

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Remaining California Table Grape Loadings More in Line with Last Season

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While the amount of California grapes in storage on the West Coast was significnantly higher than the precious two seasons, the figure has now come down and is much closer to last year.

As of Oct. 31 there were 11.3 million boxes of inventories according to the USDA’s Grape Cold Storage Summary. This is up 8% from the 10.5 million boxes recorded at the same time last year. 

The figure is also down 17% from the 13.7 million boxes registered at the end of October in 2020. 

By contrast, at the end of September there were there were 10.9 million boxes in storage, which was up 18% over the figure recorded at the same point in the 2021 and 2020 seasons.

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Central California Grape Shipments Now Full Swing

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California’s Central San Joaquin Valley grape shipments started last month and high quality with steady loadings are seen with volume similar to 2021. April’s initial crop estimate forecast 95 million, 19-pound boxes.

Top Brass Marketing of Bakersfield, CA expressed excitement about this season’s central valley grape season.

Grapeman Farms of Los Angeles began picking right after the 4th of July holiday, starting with a couple different varieties. It has ramped up over the following weeks, getting into peak shipments in August.

California table grape season traditionally runs May through January, with the southern Coachella district getting the early season start.

Fowler Packing of Fresno, CA, opened the table grape season in mid-July with Flames, and had all three colors going by August 1st. It hit peak production the middle of August and will carry that all the way through October into the middle of November. Fowler’s brand, Samsons, will end the season with Allisons and Autumn Kings, wrapping up just before Christmas.

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With Mexico Finished, Focus is on Grape Shipments from California

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The Mexican grape shipping season wrapped up in early July and the Arvin District (Bakersfield), started with light volume shortly after the Fourth of July.

For example the Markon Cooperative of Salinas, CA started shipping California-grown grapes when its Mexican supplies came to an end July 10.

California-grown green seedless supplies and red seedless grapes started with a few days of each other.

Volume had quickly ramped up by mid July with good quality.

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Four Star Fruit has Started Grape Shipments from Arvin District

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Delano, California — Four Star Fruit is a premier grower of year-round conventional and organic table grapes, committed to innovation and sustainable farming. The company forecasts an increase in red, green, and black grapes this year during the California season. Four Star recently started harvest in the most southern region of Arvin.

“We are excited to add both conventional and organic acreage to our portfolio in the Southern Valley of California,” said Doug Rossi, sales executive of Four Star Fruit. “The increased volume of production with help our retail partners transition smoothly into the season.”

The California table grape season is following the lead of the Mexican production, resulting in increased volume and movement after a tough import season. The current weather in Southern California has been mild, creating the ideal environment for the fruit to develop, resulting in exceptional eating quality for consumers this summer.

To learn more about Four Star Fruit, visit their website at

About Four Star Fruit, Inc.

Four Star Fruit, Inc. has been in table grape production since 1987, family-owned and operated for three generations by the Campbell family. Its fields are located throughout the San Joaquin and Coachella Valleys, as well as Mexico. Four Star Fruit, Inc. provides several grape varieties, including its trademarked Pristine®. Four Star caters to all customers, offering both conventional and organic table grapes.

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Significantly Fewer U.S. Table Grapes Remain in Storage for Shipping

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Significantly fewer California table grapes remain to be shipped from storage on the West Coast compared to this time last year, according to USDA report.

The Western Fruit Report – Grape Cold Storage Summary states there were over 2 million fewer cartons being held.

There were 7 million cartons in storage on November 30, compared to 9.2 million cartons on the same date in 2020.

The storage numbers on Nov. 30, 2019 were also higher than this year, but down from last year at 7.9 million cartons.

The most recent figure for this year is much lower than the 10.5 million cartons registered on November 15.

Compared to the same date in 2020, the biggest changes in terms of specific varietals are seen in:

  • Autumn Royal – 254,000 (down from 259,000 last year)
  • Autumn King – 2.5 million (down from 2.8 million)
  • Allison  – 1.4 million (down from 2.3 million)
  • Scarlet Royal – 243,000 (down from 303,000)
  • Red Globe – 206,000 (up from 46,000)
  • Timco – 95,000 (down from 195,000)
  • Great Green – 2,000 (down from 50,000)
  • Other White category – 252,000 (up from 192,000)
  • Other Red category – 416,000 (down from 1.5 million)
  • Other Black category – 216,000 (down from 491,000)

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California Grape Shipments to Continue Through December

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Fresno, CA – With good volume of California grapes available through December, shipments are predicted to continue through year-end in the U.S., and in Canada, Mexico, and other key export markets, according to Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission.

According to Nave the 2021 crop volume has been tracking close to that of 2020 for most of the season.  The 2020 crop volume was 101.1 million 19-pound boxes with 20 million boxes shipped after November 15. 

Noting that harvest is still underway in some areas, Nave said that in a typical season California ships grapes throughout the U.S. and to multiple export markets into January and this year looks to be no different.    

“The U.S. is a good market for California grapes,” Nave said, “and even better this season in terms of demand and price than it has been in recent years.”  Noting that the U.S. retail commitment to stick with California through December – as opposed to focusing on imported grapes –  remains strong, Nave added that Canada, Mexico, and Central America have all been particularly good markets this season with exports to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan steady, in spite of the worldwide shipping issues.       


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