Late starts to the Mexican and Coachella Valley grape deals and an expected early start in the San Joaquin Valley should translate into very aggressive promotions in June.
Reedley, Calif.-based Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC shipped Mexican flames and perlettes the week of May 20, with sugraones expected to follow at the end of the month, said Josh Leichter, general manager.
“We started slowly, but we’re catching up now,” Leichter said. “Overall levels should be similar to last year.”
Leichter reported very good color, size and eating quality, particularly on flames.
A few Chilean crimsons were still available on the East Coast in the second half of May, but for the most part, the Chilean deal was done for the season, Leichter said.
As for California’s Coachella Valley, that deal wasn’t having a huge effect on demand for Mexican product in late May, Leichter said.
“You don’t hear as much about it,” he said. “It’s almost like it’s two separate markets.”
Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World International LLC shipped sugraones, flames and sugrathirteens from the Coachella Valley and perlettes and flames from Sonora, Mexico, in the second half of May, said Rick Paul, the company’s grape category director.
Sugraones and sugrathirteens from Mexico were expected to follow the week of June 3, Paul said.
“It’s been a little bit of a slow start with the cooler weather,” he said.
“We’re satisfied with what we’re seeing, but some varieties, especially sugraones, like hot weather.”
While Coachella’s crop was running five to eight days later than normal, Sun World’s Arvin, Calif., grapes were on pace for a start seven to 10 days earlier than usual, Paul said.
That could lead to an interesting second half of June for marketers, he said.
“We’ll really have to have some pretty fantastic promotions to minimize the collision of the three areas in late June. We plan on delaying harvest up north as much as we can.”
The week of May 27, however, markets were strong, Paul said.
Leichter said markets were fairly steady heading into June, with prices hovering near historical norms.
Pacific Trellis expects to begin its California deal the last week of June, slightly on the early side, Leichter. The company will source from the Bakersfield and Arvin areas.