The company ships grapes under the Crown Jewels, Sonora Queen and King’s Taste labels.
Malena Produce Inc. in Rio Rico expects to have light production in early May, decent production from the middle to end of May, “and a lot of heavy production for the total month of June,” said Scott Terry, import/export sales manager.
“Overall, I think there was about a 35% hit (industrywide) with regard to production, but once you get a second bloom, and once you get bunch sizes increasing, I think the overall production is only going to be off by about 20%,” he said.
Malena’s production should be off only about 5%, since it is in the La Costa district, closer to the Gulf of California than the Hermosillo district, where freeze damage was more significant, he said.
Malena should start some picking in La Costa around May 12
This year may get off to a slow start, but Miguel Suarez, owner of Rio Rico-based MAS Melons & Grapes, hopes the season will be nothing like last year, which he described as the worst season he has seen in the 23 years he has been marketing grapes.
The start of last season was delayed by bad weather then volume was concentrated into a short window creating “a big mess,” he said.
“It was very difficult for everybody,” Suarez said.
This year, he expects to ship about 680,000 cartons, up from 550,000 last year.