Posts Tagged “California pomegranate shipments”
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.
California pomegranate shipments are expected to be off some from a year ago, but volume from Trinity Fruit Sales Co. of Fresno, CA is forecast to be up about 5 percent due to new plantings.
Harvest started in early September with the company’s proprietary Aco variety, which originated in Israel. The company cites this variety as better than other early varieties such as foothill.
The company also has expanded its production lines this season. In addition to fresh pomegranates, Trinity Fruit has year around shipments of fresh, dried and frozen arils.
“It’s been very successful for us,” he said.
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.
California pomegranate shipments are expected to be off about 15 percent this season.
A freeze in California’s San Joaquin Valley earlier this year is attributed to most of the decline. In a normal year, about 6 million, 25-pound boxes are shipped. This year the estimated loadings will be around 5 million to 5.5 million boxes.
The Wonderful Co. of Los Angeles reports it will have adequate volume for customers this season despite tighter supplies and higher costs for labor, transportation and water.
Crown Jewels Produce Co. LLC of Fresno, CA began harvesting pomegranates the second week of September on the early foothills variety, followed by the wonderful variety in early October.
Trinity Fruit Sales Co. Inc. of Fresno is experiencing much heavier volume this season with its early variety of pomegranates, with lighter than usual volume with its later variety.
At DJ Forry C. of Pismo Beach, CA, the company notes fewer shipments have occurred the past three years due to an oversupply, with some growers even bulldozing trees. Declining profits have been reported whether for juice, arils (a specialized outgrowth from a seed that partly or completely covers the seed) or fresh market.
Simonian Fruit Co. of Fowler, CA began harvest the third week of September and expects to be shipping pomegranates into December, or perhaps January. The company is reporting good sizing, color and overall quality.
Although the U.S. ranks third in pomegranate production, the top two producers — China and India — sell most of their fruit domestically, leaving much of the export market to the U.S..
The U.S. exports 30 to 40 percent of its crop to Canada, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.
Red potato shipments from the Red River Valley have taken a hit for the upcoming season. Meanwhile, California pomegranate shipments are picking up.
California grower-shippers are having good shipments of pomegranates that began in mid-August. However, 80 percent or more of the crop is in the wonderful variety which starts around October 1.
Volume loadings will be down this seas as there is some movement toward other crops. Some growers are swapping out pomegranates for nut varieties viewed as being more profitable.
Slayman Marketing of Bakersfield, CA focuses on early varieties and began shipping in early August. Last year started earlier, around July 20. Simonian Fruit Co. of Fowler, CA is expecting similar shipments to a year ago. Simonian should wrap up harvesting the first half of November.
The largest shipper of the wonderful variety is Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful, which accounts for about 70 percent of California pomegranate shipments.