There should be plenty of fruit to meet all customer needs, he said.
“We expect that the California fruit will peak smaller than last season, so larger sizes should earn a premium,” he said.
The Wenatchee, Wash., office of The Giumarra Cos. anticipates its first California shipments in mid-October, said Jason Bushong, salesman.
“We’ll go through the first part of February,” he said.
“We have quite a few good retail programs that get us through OK.”
Growers say they have been watching, with some concern, progress in fighting pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae, a kiwifruit vine-killing disease that has hit gold varieties in New Zealand and Italy with particular force.
California produces the green hayward variety, which is more amenable to the Golden State’s climate, growers said.
“It’s similar to fire blight we get on asian pears and apples, and it’s affecting only gold production,” said Doug Phillips, owner of Phillips Farms Marketing in Visalia, Calif.
California growers are content to wait until most of the Chilean and New Zealand crops had moved out of the U.S. market before beginning peak shipments, said Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager with Madera-based Stellar Distributing Inc.
“It always affects what we do with the California deal,” he said.
If the market is weak, it might pay off to wait a bit, Cappelluti said.
“We might want to hold on and not hurry in,” he said.
Quality shouldn’t be an issue, said Mike Noland, president of Wild River Marketing Inc., Marysville, Calif.
“We are very happy with the color and the overall appearance of our fruit,” he said.