Oro Loma Ranch increases acreage
Firebaugh, Calif.-based grower packer-shipper Ruby Fresh is planting several thousand acres of fresh pomegranates in South America.
“In three years we’ll be importing steady supplies of our own pomegranates,” said David Anthony, head of North American sales.
Ruby Fresh has imported container loads of fresh pomegranates from Chile for the past two years, Anthony said. Some are sold fresh and some are broken down for arils.
He said the company recently added a 4-ounce rectangular punnet to its line of 5-ounce and 8-ounce packages to appeal to price-sensitive consumers.
Ruby Fresh is the marketing arm for Oro Loma Ranch, which grows mainly the wonderful variety on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, about 50 miles west of Fresno, Calif.
This is the fourth season Ruby Fresh has sold whole pomegranates and arils.
As its trees mature and volumes increase, Anthony expects to have enough fresh pomegranates this year to meet its orders and attract new customers.
Pom Wonderful tests fruit for ripeness
Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful is focusing on the internal ripeness of its fruit to ensure every consumer has a good experience.
“There’s no correlation between the external color of the fruit and its maturity inside,” said vice president and general manager Brad Paris.
“The color, or scarring on the skin is less of a concern,” Paris said.
“A pomegranate can be light pink outside with sweet and beautiful dark red arils inside.”
The only way to determine ripeness is to test the fruit internally before harvesting, he said.
“Somebody may be trying a pomegranate for the first time,” he said.
“If they get one that’s not ripe inside, they may not come back.”
PureFresh Sales brings acreage online
Angel red and smith pomegranate orchards now coming into production are helping Selma, Calif.-based PureFresh Sales enter the market earlier.
President Bill Purewal said PureFresh and its grower partners in Fresno and Madera counties started shipping smiths Aug. 27 and planned to start shipping angels Sept. 3 before moving on to foothill and wonderfuls.
“An early crop helps us get customers going and keeps them with us into February,” Purewal said.
“Every year we have more and more customers staying with us because we’re doing just as good a job marketing and packing as the other grower-shippers,” he said.