Sugraones gain, but thompsons still viable for many

05/01/2009 12:57:16 PM
Andy Nelson

Some valley growers had trouble growing perlettes with enough flavor, Larson said. Drake Larson Sales hasn’t had that problem, he said.

“We have a reputation for flavor,” he said.

Perlettes, like thompsons, will require careful attention on the part of retailers this season, Larson said. Maintaining shelf life and staying out of the way of sugraones are paramount, he said.

“You have to get them to the retailers fast, so they’re fresh, and you have to market them in such a way that they don’t bump into the sugraones too hard,” Larson said.

Peter Rabbit Farms has scaled back perlette acreage in past years, but this year the company is content with its current level of production, Burton said.

Because of its timing and quality, the early-season variety still has its place in the Coachella deal, he said.

“Perlettes are down as low as they’ll go,” Burton said. “I like that it comes off early. The early perlette is a very good grape.”

Volumes of perlettes, along with thompsons, will actually be up this year for Coachella-based Desert Fresh Inc., said Tony Bianco, president.

Sun World, however, won’t be marketing any perlettes this season, Paul said.

East West Unlimited, Coachella, is bullish on its black varieties this season, said Steve Root, president and chief executive officer.

“Blacks are becoming a bigger mover with the new varieties,” he said. “They’re very solid, good sugar. They eat very well and have long shelf life. There’s less shrink for chains.”

More ads and promotions will help move the newer blacks this year, Root


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