California galas off to early start - The Packer

California galas off to early start

07/22/2014 02:40:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Courtesy Primavera Marketing Inc.California galas are off to their earliest start in years for some growers.

Stockton, Calif.-based Primavera Marketing Inc. began shipping California galas the week of July 14, said sales manager Rich Sambado.

Volumes should start to ramp up later in the month, as imported galas from New Zealand and Chile wind down for the season, Sambado said. California could have the gala deal to itself for shorter than usual this year, he said.

“We’re built on quality product that fills a window, and our window will be smaller.”

Andy Poteete, salesman for Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bidart Bros. Marketing Inc., said the company’s July 21 start on galas was the earliest for the company in 15 years.

Nonetheless, he expected decent demand.

“We’re not too worried. There are still some Washington galas, which does take some of the edge off, but there’s demand, and the prices seem to be OK. We’re looking forward to a good season.”

On July 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $30 for carton tray packs of galas 72-80 from Washington. Last year at the same time, tray packs of Chilean galas sold for $36.

California growers are expected to ship 2.4 million boxes of apples this season, said Alex Ott, executive director of the Fresno-based California Apple Commission.

“We’re running about 10 to 14 days ahead of schedule,” Ott said. “The crop looks good. Size and quality are good.The biggest concern is water. With the drought conditions, apple growers are concerned not just about this year but next year as well.”

Bidart’s gala crop is expected to be slightly smaller than last year, Poteete said.

Primavera’s gala crop should be about 10% to 15% larger than last year, Sambado said. As of July 18, growers were reporting smaller sizing than usual, with sizes peaking on 113s instead of 100s.

“The size is off, which is a little disappointing,” Sambado said.

Poteete reported normal sizing and good color and quality on Bidart’s gala crop. The company expects to begin shipping granny smiths the week of Aug. 11.

Primavera expects to begin shipping California fujis about Aug. 18, granny smiths about Aug. 25 and Pink Ladys in mid-October.

Fuji acreage is up slightly due to alternate-bearing cycles, and granny smith and Pink Lady acreage is expected to be similar to last season, Sambado said.

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