That could change if the weather cools, he added.
Quality looks good this season, and the crop should be a bit larger than last year, he said.
Richard Bagdasarian Inc. in Mecca, Calif., will kick off its season with perlettes the week of May 7, said president Nick Bozick. Early flames will start three or four days later.
The company also will offer sugraone, beauty seedless, thompson, princess and scarlet royal varieties.
“The quality looks good so far,” Bozick said in early April. “The growing weather has been very mild and very consistent.”
Bagdasarian will ship about 1 million boxes of grapes into mid-July.
Bozick expects to have even more scarlet royals in July in future seasons.
Drop-off in perlettes
One variety the valley won’t be seeing too many of is the perlette.
Stevco no longer ships perlettes because they don’t sell well and some grocery chains won’t take them, Clyde said.
Only a few desert growers produce perlettes anymore, he said.
Bianco estimates that only about 20 acres are left in the Coachella Valley.
“Perlettes got to be too expensive to grow,” he said. “You can’t get enough yield, and the costs (of maintenance) were so high.”
The perlette, he said, “is a grape that has seen its day.”
Peter Rabbit Farms finishes its perlettes around May 20 and goes right into sugraones, Burton said.
Bagdasarian has a small block of perlettes to give the company some green grapes to kick off the season, Bozick said.
The firm can break even on perlettes if they come out in front of the market, he said.
“We want to have some early greens,” he said.