California grower-shippers expect promotable supplies of high-quality cherries in May and June.
While it was still early in the season to be making definitive predictions, in early April, 2010 was shaping up to be a banner year for the California cherry industry, said Steve Nelsen, managing partner of Kingsburg, Calif.-based Valhalla Sales & Marketing Co.
“We have an opportunity to have one of the better crops we’ve had in a long time in terms of quality and volume,” Nelsen said. “I hope I don’t jinx us by saying that. We still have a long way to go.”
Temperatures in the low 30s at the beginning of April illus-trated that point, though no damage was reported from that cold snap, Nelsen said.
Maurice Cameron, president of Hanford, Calif.-based Flavor Tree Fruit Co., which markets fruit for Hanford-based Warmerdam Packing LLC, is similarly optimistic.
“The crop is looking beautiful,” he said. “It’s setting up to be a real nice year.”
Flavor Tree expects to begin shipping its patented Sequoia variety from Arvin and Maricopa the last week in April, with brookses following shortly thereafter, Cameron said.
Valhalla would possibly start shipping in the last week of April, and certainly by the first week in May, Nelsen said. The company expected to ship California product through about mid-June.
For its first year as a full-time shipper out of California, Fridley, Minn.-based Roland Marketing, which markets cherries under the Green Giant label, is looking forward to a good one, said Joan Tabak, Roland’s sales manager.
“It looks like a very good crop,” she said. “We’ve seen good quality so far. Mother Nature is working well for us.”
Rains earlier in the growing season did not affect the cherry crop adversely, she said.
Dave Parker, marketing di-rector for Traver, Calif.-based Scattaglia Growers & Shippers LLC, also reported favorable growing weather, with good conditions during bloom and ample chill hours over the winter.
A combination of good weather, new acreage and newer trees maturing should equate to a large crop, he said.
Scattaglia expects to begin picking the last few days of April, with volume shipments beginning about a week later and full production slated for about May 12, Parker said.
The company will begin shipping in the southern San Joaquin Valley, near Arvin, switch to the central valley region around Hanford later in the deal, then finish up in the Stockton/Lodi area, Parker said.
Roland expects to start ship-ping about April 20-22, a bit earlier than last year, with a full lineup of bings, brooks, tulares and other dark cherry varieties as well as a small amount of rainiers, Tabak said.