Grapes, Tree Fruit and Citrus Market Report October 9 to October 15
The red seedless crop struggles continue in Central CA. Almost all Jack Salute and Scarlet Royal are harvested, with Allison being the work horse for the remainder of the crop. Some Scarlotta and Crimson may help in a limited way by the middle of the month. Crop loss of 30 – 40% is realistic, especially in the south Valley, with issues created by both heat in July and rain in August being the biggest culprit. Expect FOB prices to continue to remain at record levels and push up higher moving into November, as supply will not be able to meet demand for late season CA red grapes in November and December. Imports from Brazil have started, but true volume won’t be until late November and December from Peru.
Growers have finished most other varieties and will move into Autumn King for the late crop volume. Losses on green seedless due to the rain look to be lighter then red seedless, but still significant. Crews will continue to push to pack good solid boxes of fruit that will have shelf life. The green crop is expected to continue harvest through October and likely stretch into late November / early December. FOB prices remain at record highs due to a combination of crop loss, as well as high labor costs in the field to pack. The US will start seeing some Brazilian and Peruvian green seedless in November to help with the transition as California comes to a quick, early finish.
Black seedless volume has finally turned the corner, as most growers in the Valley are harvesting Autumn Royal. This is the largest volume variety of the season, but will be considerably off on total crop volume due to rain loss. Expect decent supplies now through late October, then a quick finish as the crop is moved through fast. FOB’s are matching red and green seedless in lofty costs due to labor involved to pack a clean box. Continue to push black seedless as a color break with decent volume to help offset lack of red seedless supplies.
Some Red Globe are available, but most south Valley fields did not take the rain. Fruit up north fared better. With all the focus on the seedless varieties, expect some availability on red globe for the time being but will see a very quick finish at the tail end. November will be in question due to quality.
Tree Fruit – Imports
The California peach crop will see its finale this week. The last shippable volume will pack / ship this week and finish out for the season. Pack outs have improved, but still feeling the effects of the weather that damaged the total crop volume. The early finish will leave a sizeable gap before Chile beings harvest in December.
Plums / Pluots
Flavor Fall will make a majority of the red plum availability, while Black Kat and Angeleno will be the black plums for the finish. Plums in general handle rain better than other stone fruit due to their bloom protection and tougher skin. Harvest and shipments will continue for a few more weeks, as the plum crop will stretch the latest. Growers will avoid packing storage plums due to shelf life concerns and will aim to pack and ship to an early finish.
October will be the tail end of the import clementine crop, with a 3 – 4 weeks of arrivals left before crop finish. Murcott and Tango will remain the varieties from Chile. Chile will be the focus for the balance of the season, but rains during the growing season will limit some of the floor of late season fruit. FOB pricing has remained steady, but may look to spike over the next 10 – 14 days as importers look to hold as much fruit back as possible to stretch into late October. California is not expected to go until 2nd week of November on true clems. Avoid large promos in late October / early November until California starts. The hope is that the last projected arrival volumes are enough to fill the gap in demand up to Central CA starting.
We are nearing the end of the Chilean navel orange crop, as California waits in the wings to start their first picks. Good demand for 64s’s / 72’s and 88’s from Chile has made it tight on market availability. 56’s and 40/48’s will continue to arrive and be available, but expect demand to remain strong there for premium retail as CA looks at a late start. Like the clementine market, based on weather received during the harvest, expect navels to come up a little short on arrivals before the Central CA start. Arrival volume will start to tail off earlier in mid-October and demand will be high for the limited amount of fruit arriving at crop finish. CA is set for a late October / early November start on navels.
Demand exceeds supply on the import lemon market. Chile has finished harvest for the season. Weather has created a drastic finish to harvest in Chile and the last of the Argentina arrivals have hit both coasts. Chile will not have enough supplies on the water to meet demand, with the sudden stop coming as a surprise. All sizes are tight, but specifically 115’s, 140’s and 165’s. Avoid promoting imported lemons in October, as pending arrivals will struggle to fill the pipeline. Coachella has started harvest on some early CA fruit, as well as Mexico crossings. Transition into Central CA needs to be immediate to meet demand, but expect splitting COO’s to stay in supplies for the time being until Central CA volume starts in mid to late November.
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