Purewal said his aril sales are also increasing.
“They’re a great year-round item to keep customers with us the whole year, and they help us market Chilean and then California pomegranates,” he said.
Simonian Fruit Co. designs mesh bag
Fowler, Calif.-based Simonian Fruit Co. is developing a fixed-weight mesh bag for this year’s fresh pomegranate season.
“We’ve got a prototype and we’re looking for customers,” said vice president of sales and marketing Jeff Simonian.
The red mesh bag would be ideal for medium or small-sized fruit, Simonian said.
The grower-shipper expected to begin harvesting California pomegranates the second week of September. That’s earlier than last season but closer to a normal season, Simonian said.
“We’re estimating about 200,000 packages, but we won’t know until we start packing,” he said.
It’s the second year for Simonian’s 80 acres of organic pomegranates, or about 10% of its crop.
“Pomegranates are close to organic already because we don’t put many sprays on them,” he said.
“Some of the sprays we use are allowed under the organic program.”
“For now, we’re looking at organic as one more thing we can offer customers.”
Slayman Marketing adds early varieties
Bakersfield, Calif.-based Slayman Marketing has pulled all its late-variety pomegranate trees — about 100 acres — and replanted them with early granada and foothill varieties.
“It’s strictly a numbers game,” said president Dee Slayman, who packs under the Slayman and Noble brands.
“There are so many wonderfuls planted, I choose not to be in that deal,” Slayman said.
“I just want to haul early stuff and be out early,” he said.
Slayman’s orchards are located in a microclimate at the south end of the San Joaquin Valley, which allows him to harvest about three weeks earlier than other pomegranate growing areas in the state.
He began packing on Aug. 9 this year and plans to finish around Sept. 15.
“We’ll be completely out of production before the wonderful even starts,” said Slayman, one of the smallest grower-shippers in the deal with 700 acres of pomegranates.
Trinity Fruit Sales Co. opens facility for arils
In 2000, David White recalls de-seeding pomegranates by hand and offering arils to several retailers.
“We tried them in a small way then stopped as we focused on other things,” said White, president of Fresno, Calif.-based Trinity Fruit Sales Co. Inc.