Coachella production began in early May and is expected to run to mid-July, according to the commission.
Reds also had problems in Coachella, Matoian said.
“The crop on the flame seedless is less than Coachella expected,” he said. “It had low color, splits and cracks in the fruit. There won’t be much carryover from that district. Size and color will be suspect. Last year we had 10 to 14 days of an empty pipeline when we started in San Joaquin. We’ll see some gap in the fourth week of June but not as bad as last year.”
Buyers have made it possible for grower-shippers to move a lot of grapes, Matoian said.
“All the retailers have been very active when the price got to a level they could promote,” he said. “Grapes were a solid feature with reduced amounts of California tree fruits to promote. We had a lot of chain stores promoting at or near cost. Each had its reasons.”
Flame seedless grapes were priced about $20 for 18-pound containers out of Coachella Valley on June 11, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Year-ago prices were about $16 to $18.