California summer fruit defies drought threat - The Packer

California summer fruit defies drought threat

05/08/2014 02:23:00 PM
Vicky Boyd and Mike Hornick

California valencia volume is estimated at about 24 million cartons by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, down from 25 million last year on roughly 2,000 fewer acres.

Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers expects to ship valencias through summer and into late September or early October, said Joan Wickham, manager for advertising and public relations.

Sunkist expects to ship its California star ruby grapefruit through July, when its summer marsh ruby variety comes online.

Prices for 7/10-bushel cartons shippers first grade size 48-56s navel oranges brought $18.80-20.90 in late April, according to the USDA. A year before, cartons were $15.73-16.75.

For grapefruit, 7/10 bushel cartons marked rio star fancy of size 40 Texas fruit brought $9.90-11.25, according to the USDA. A year ago,

cartons brought $7.80-8.80



California strawberry shipments were expects to average 7 million or more trays per week in May, roughly normal peak volume. Producers planned to continue pushing for retail promotions.

Water was not an immediate issue.

“It’s going to be a Ventura County issue more than anywhere else, but Ventura will be out of the market in about two months anyway,” Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director for the commission, said in March.

Flats of eight 1-pound lidded containers of medium-large strawberries from Santa Maria and Watsonville, Calif., brought $9-10 in late April, according to the USDA. A year before, flats of eight brought $8-9.



California blueberries peak April through June, and the warm winter brought that deal to life about three weeks ahead of normal.

The state totaled 53.9 million pounds of blueberries last year, up sharply from about 48 million in 2012. An estimate on the current crop was expected in early April.

“We probably anticipate a higher crop, but our biggest concern is just having enough water to keep the plants fed,” Alex Ott, executive director of the Fresno-based California Blueberry Commission, said March 28.

Flats of a dozen 6-ounce cups with lids of medium-large blueberries from central and Southern California were bringing $33-34 in late April, according to reports from the USDA. A year before, flats brought $20-24.90.

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