Grapes, Tree Fruit and Citrus Market Report May 22 to May 28
The dog days of May continue. Chilean fruit is cleaned up out of the system, bearing any old aged fruit holding on DC inventories or store coolers. Mexico and Coachella are both showing no signs of starting any time soon on red seedless. A few small harvests of Flames MAY start by the end of the week, but realistically first picks aren’t going until 5/29 and we will not see any shippable volume until at least June 7th – 12th. Avoid any promotions, FOB’s will remain at record high levels with no fruit available until harvest commences and fills an empty pipeline.
Green seedless continue to suck wind at the start of harvest in Mexico. What was expected to be the first week of harvest turned into absolutely zero due to cooler weather and fruit not maturing on brix levels. A small amount of Perlette variety crossed into Nogales last week, with most failing at the border due to USDA sugar minimums. Almost no Early Sweet or Sweeties were harvested. The industry is praying that the crop starts some light harvest this week, but volume to meet demand and an empty pipeline does not likely happen until at least June 5th. Avoid ad promotions until the crop stabilizes and begins harvest.
Black seedless are done from Chile. Harvest in Mexico is expected to start around May 29th with red seedless, but expect a slow start with ad promotion not until the second week of June.
Only a small amount of red globe remains, mostly on the East Coast. They continue to demand a record premium and will clean up fast due to the lack of seedless varieties in the marketplace. Mexico is significantly delayed and likely won’t see their first Red Globe harvests until the last days of June. Expect a month gap.
Tree Fruit – Imports
Cherry growers continue to struggle on harvest, with fruit not maturing as expected and still running way behind schedule. Typically, the CA cherry crop is off to the races by this point on the calendar. There is downward pressure on pricing from retail and wholesale… but it doesn’t really matter because of the sheer amount of orders shorted / cut / not loaded over the weekend by most growers due to lack of harvest and pack-outs. This empty cooler scenario is expected to continue for another 7 days and hopefully, by May 29th, harvest has picked up and gained some momentum. Expect an industry-wide struggle to continue at the start of the week.
Arvin and Kettlemen will continue to harvest in a light way, with Central CA finally getting ready to step in. Size and brix levels remain low at the start, with yellow peach limited especially due to the East Coast wipeout this season. A small amount of Snow Angel white peach will pick up the harvest this week. Fruit is going to be small in size at the start. Avoid carrying until harvest actually shows signs of starting. No promotions volume until Central CA is in full swing in June. Expect a slightly better harvest this week, but still slow. Overall crop volume is going to be lighter then expected this season from CA with heavy demand due to the lack of Eastern peach option.
Volume remains extremely light on yellow nectarine until Zee Fire starts. All growers have struggled up to this point. Expect harvest to slowly gain this week, but still peak on 64’s and smaller. No true volume is expected until the June start on nectarines. Waiting for Zee Fire from Arvin in late May and leading to better harvest volume in mid-May from Central CA. Hold volume movement on both yellow and white nectarine until at least June. That is when to build momentum.
The Chilean plum crop has finished. Expect CA plums to not truly get off the ground until the 2nd – 3rd week of June with shippable/edible varieties. Hold tight on the start, but expect a good set this year. Demand, especially to fill shorter availability on peach and nectarine, will help to move volume through the system.
Patterson will gain the fold of both Southern and Central CA harvesting apricots this week. Fruit will continue to peak on 80/84 ct trays and larger. Sizing is expected to remain solid, with mostly 70/72 and 80/84 ct. Currently, apricot is expected to be the best item to promote for the time being until other stone fruit varieties actually start true harvest.
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