FRESNO, Calif. — California’s sometimes unpredictable spring weather caused more than a few headaches for grower-shippers this year. A couple of nights of cold temperatures — a few weeks apart — were followed in mid-April by gusty winds.
While the volume should drop from the past two bumper seasons, grower-shippers said the nectarine orchards endured Mother Nature’s wrath and they predicted a good quality, good tasting crop.
With few exceptions, the nectarine harvest should be well under way throughout the San Joaquin Valley by the end of May.
The season opening varieties at Crown Jewels Marketing and Distribution LLC, Fresno, are red boys and zee fires. Atomic Torosian, managing partner, said the nectarine harvest should begin the third week in May.
The yellow-flesh variety spring flair will be first off the trees during the second week in May for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, said Marc Serpa, the company’s West Coast grape and stone fruit category manager. Harvesting of snow flair, a white-flesh nectarine, should start the third week in May.
Picking of three nectarine varieties should start by the end of May at Ballantine Produce Co. Inc., Sanger, Calif. The early nectarines at Ballantine include two yellow-flesh varieties, zee fire and honey may, said Rick Milton, director of grower relations, and polar light, a white-flesh nectarine.
Customers will have to wait until June for kay diamonds, a proprietary variety for Ballantine.
The kay diamonds are good-sized fruit with excellent flavor, Milton said.
The early varieties at Trinity Fruit Co., Fresno, will start in mid-May and will include yellow- and white-flesh nectarines, said salesman John Hein.
The season starting yellow-flesh nectarines for Trinity Fruit include zee fires, red roys, rose diamonds and rose brights, he said. The early white-flesh varieties are snow kiss, arctic star, may pearl and june pearl, Hein said.