Posts Tagged “Coachella Valley grapes”

Coachella Valley will Provide Nation’s First Domestic Grapes of the Year

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 DSCN3786+1Coachella Valley grape shipments start soon, kicking off the domestic grape season for the United States.

Nestled just outside of Palm Springs are California’s first grape shipments each year.  Coachella Valley grape loadings will get underway in early May, but it will be at least mid May, if not a little later before there is good volume.

In its prime, the Coachella Valley routinely shipped in excess of 10 million cartons per season.  Even a decade ago, volume ranged from 7 million to 9 million cartons for the season.  Today, 4 million to 5 million cartons is more typical as acreage has declined over the years for a variety of reasons, with nothing being a greater factor than soaring real estate prices for both commercial and residential demands.  But that decline may have reached a plateau, according to some.  There are now fewer, but larger growing/shipping operations and new varieties of grapes are being introduced to make the Coachella Valley more competitive, especially with Mexican grapes.  The latter now has production about double or more what Coachella used to have in its heyday.

The two regions have very similar grape seasons, although Mexico typically starts shipping a few days to a week or so earlier than Coachella.  Both Coachella and Mexico serve as a bridge from the end of the imported Chilean grape season and when Arvin District grapes (Bakersfield) gets underway in late June.  Arvin and other production areas in the San Joaquin Valley provide the vast majority of California grape shipments.

There still remain a number of old time, well established grape shippers either based in the Coachella Valley, or which have operations there.  For example, there is Anthony Vineyards, Inc., Sun World International LLC.; and Stevco, all in Coachella; Richard Bagdasarian, Inc., and Tudor Ranch, Inc., are both in Mecca.




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CA Shipping Update: Desert Grapes and Onions, SJV Prunes

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DSCN7307Here’s shipping updates for California relating to Coachella Valley grapes, Imperial Valley onions and prunes from the San Joaquin Valley.

Grape Shipments

In the desert of the Coachella Valley, table grape shipments are a big deal for about six weeks every year.  The late timing of Memorial Day (May 30) will mean added loading opportunities for produce haulers due to demand leading up to this holiday.  Though Coachella grapes are a bit earlier this year, it still will be around May 10th before good volume occurs.  That means the weeks of May 16th and 23rd there will be heavy shipments.

For the Coachella Valley, the months of July, August and September, daytime temperatures can easily top 110 degrees and approach 120, making this region inhospitable to field-grown crops.  But other times of the year grapes, watermelon, sweet corn, Bell peppers and grapefruit are just a few of the crops that are shipped, especially in the spring and fall.  The Coachella Valley is located about 130 miles southeast of Los Angeles and only a few miles from Palm Springs.

Changing weather patterns for the last few years have meant an April start for grapes, which some are calling the effects of global warming and others are saying is merely a few-year anomaly from normal patterns.  For whatever reasons, this year saw grapes being harvested in April once again, as they were in 2014 and 2015.

Imperial Valley Onion Shipments

Onion shipments are now in full swing in the Imperial Valley of southern California.  These shipments from the desert occur during April and May, after which the season is continued in Fresno from June until September.

Prune Shipments
Storms hit Northern California in March damaging this year’s prune crop.  The result of potential damages may result in prune shipments being reduced this season by 75 percent.
Prune loadings have declined in recent years while struggling to compete with the high prices commanded by walnut and almond crops.  Growers have ripped out prune orchards to plant nut crops, causing the amount of prune acreage in California to shrink from 67,000 acres in 2005 to 44,000 acres in 2015.
Southern California fruits and vegetables – grossing about $4500 to Chicago.

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