To paraphrase astronomer Galileo Galilei, “The sun with all those planets revolving around it can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”
When it comes to grapes, California is the de facto center of this particular universe, accounting for 99 percent of U.S. commercial table grape production.
For the summer season, volume from Central California has been steadily rising from the start of July.
Prices from the Kern District have fallen in the last month as volume has increased, so that at the start of August, medium flame seedless were on the low end at $14.95-16.95 per cartons, while large flame seedless, summer royals and ivory were on the high end at $18.95-22.95 per carton.
Prices were slightly lower from the San Joaquin Valley.
Jeff Olsen, president of the Chuck Olsen Company, Inc. BB #:151376 in Visalia, CA, said Aug. 1, that movement has been good for his company.
“The overall quality is good but fighting a few issues depending on the location of the ranch,” he said. “There are some mildew issues and also some damage from spring hail storms that has caused some growers to walk away from ranches. Fruit is eating good, and as we get further into the fall, we will hope for great quality which will be predicated on the weather. We believe movement will continue to be good going forward.”
For perspective, at nearly 117 million box units, 2018 brought the second largest annual volume shipped out of California, according to Kathleen Nave of the California Table Grape Commission.
After September, when 65 percent of California grapes are shipped, the industry posted record shipments for 9 straight weeks.
This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full version.