Grower-shippers said they expect good quality despite a two-year drought that ranks as the third-driest period on record in the state.
“Right now, it looks good,” said Holmes, who added that dry conditions haven’t adversely affected quality, though they could affect sizing.
Shippers see other reasons to be optimistic.
Carnes said foodservice demand, which had been flat at best, is picking up as the economy shows signs of recovery.
“When the country hit hard economic times, people were eating at home more and eating out less. In the last couple of years, it’s come back. It was pretty strong last year.”
There’s even a bright side to the drop in acreage of more than half compared to seven years ago.
Carnes said that with fewer growers and less acreage in the deal, pressure on the labor force has decreased dramatically.