( Courtesy Western Fresh Marketing )

California’s new crop and imports from Italy will give U.S. kiwifruit lovers ample volume in the last quarter of this year.

California primarily markets its kiwifruit from October through April, with some volume continuing as late as June. Italian kiwifruit is also active in that same October through April window.

Southern Hemisphere supplier Chile is active from April through September, while New Zealand kiwifruit typically arrives in good volume from May through October.

On an annual basis, U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show imported kiwifruit accounted for about 82% of total U.S. supply in 2016, down from 87% in 2015 and 83% in 2014.

California kiwifruit production in 2016 was 28,000 tons, up from 21,000 tons in 2015 but well off from top production of 52,000 tons in 1992.


Supply prospects

For this year, California industry sources indicated that gold varieties could hit the market in September, with the hayward variety harvest getting underway in early October.

Preliminary industry estimates put the California crop at 10.9 million 7-pound trays for the hayward variety, with non-hayward green or gold varieties at 1 million trays.

The USDA, in the most recent statistics published, put California’s bearing acreage of kiwifruit at 3,700 acres in 2016, off from 3,900 acres in 2015 and 4,100 acres in 2014. Top reported acreage of kiwifruit was 7,300 acres in 1990, according to the USDA.

Italia Fruit News reported that estimates from the Sept. 9-12 International Kiwifruit Organization Conference in France put Italian production for 2018 at 373,000 tons of green kiwifruit, up 13% over 2017 but still off 16% from the five-year average.