The impact of the California drought continues to draw widespread media attention, with no break in the drought and long-term implications as grave as ever. Perhaps the best hope is that El Nino weather pattern helps deliver serious rain over the winter.
But the latest USDA ERS food price forecast saw no discernible effect from the drought so far, though higher citrus prices tied to the citrus greening disease in Florida and winter frosts in California prodded fresh fruit inflation higher.
Rick Eastes, California-based marketing consultant of Rixx International Marketing Co. Inc., said in a recent e-mail that, despite the drought, the grape crop in California won’t be shortchanged in California this year.
Thank goodness for an extra-early season. There were perhaps an additional 2 weeks to ship and sell the extra million Coachella, and 2.2 million Mexican grapes which would have made a normal harvest season ‘very crowded’.
If the San Joaquin table grape crop is as large, percentage wise, and weather permits them to harvest up to November 1st, they will blow right past last year’s 118 million 19 lb. box equivalent crop.
TK: With the early start to the San Joaquin Valley harvest, we’ll be keeping our ears open for more reports about the quality effects of drought and weather on the 2014 grape season. Volume won’t apparently be hurt.
I received a thoughtful note from John Sauve, managing partner of the Food & Wellness Group when I was out last week.
Here is an excerpt from John:
Enjoyed your piece on produce playing it’s natural advantage card... health. Especially liked the very last sentence: With one voice, the industry should be promoting the extensive and continuing evidence of the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, regardless of the source.
As you know, David and I (Food and Wellness Group) have long professed a similar generic marketing point of view…position and leverage on a the differentiating and compelling health dimension…and you have published a few articles from us on that topic over the years, including this one.