With new plantings coming into production, that’s slightly up from last year, said general manager Josh Leichter, who joined Pacific Trellis a year ago.
For the second year, the grower-shipper will feature its Going Ape brand in greater volume on boxes and packaging this year, Leichter said.
The brand features a high-graphic, stand-up bag with a label appealing to children.
Along with traditional perlettes, sugraones and flames, he said Pacific Trellis expects to pack more red globes and black seedless this year.
Pandol Bros. aims to extend shelf life
One of the 12 Mexican growers who work with Delano, Calif.-based Pandol Bros. Inc. has built a temperature-controlled packinghouse for assembling multicolored special packs.
John Pandol, director of special projects, said the grower brings in three colors of fruit and repacks them in clamshells after they’re chilled.
Chilling before packing gives the fruit a stronger post-harvest life, Pandol said.
“Last year was his first trial,” Pandol said. “He’s willing to do anything, and he doesn’t have to worry about the heat — he may keep white grapes for five days, red grapes for 10 days and pack black grapes that day.”
Most packinghouses pack at ambient temperature, he said, but fruit from the field may be delayed before it’s chilled.
“When you see clamshells on retail shelves with fruit that looks older than it would in bags, it’s because the fruit was delayed before entering the cold chain,” Pandol said.
Stevco to offer more grapes, flames
Stevco Inc. expects to add about 150,000 more boxes of Mexican grapes this year, predominately flames, said vice president of marketing Jared Lane, based in Bakersfield, Calif.
“We pack in RPC’s or whatever our customers demand,” said Lane, “and we’re able to place GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) labels on all our boxes for traceability.”
Selling grapes from Mexico and California’s Coachella Valley at the same time has its benefits, he said.
“If red grapes are a little tight in one area you might have them in another area and vice versa.”
The two deals are usually harvested about a week apart, he said, depending on the weather.