Organic grape production begins this month in the Coachella Valley with abundant supplies of premium quality product expected from growers in the desert region.
“Organics grapes are an important part of the mix for growers and an established part of the industry.” said Jeff Cardinale, vice president of communications for the California Table Grape Commission. “Retailers and consumers have long been interested in organic grapes and California growers have provided them for decades. Grapes rank third in consumer surveys and 95 percent of consumers prefer California grapes.”
Long time grower-shipper VBZ & Sons, Inc., is estimating its organic grape production will almost triple this year, shipping more than 900,000 cartons this year.
John Haley, vice president of sales and marketing for Anthony Vineyards, is optimistic about organic grape production and this year's market. “We look forward to strong demand for our organic grape program. First, we have a good customer following and second, there haven’t been a lot of organic grapes available in the last six months. I think the market will be normal, as it has been for the last few years,” he said “We’ve been involved in organic table grapes for ten to twelve years and have seen double-digit growth every year. There’s still growth in the category and room in the category for additional growers.”
Haley added, “Part of what will contribute to the increase is the quality of our crop this year. The other contributors include some new acreage and some new varieties we’ll introduce to our organic program. Some of the new organic varieties will be Ivory and Timpson (green seedless) and Krissy, Gemma Rose, Allison, and Timco (red seedless).”
Homegrown Organic Farms marketing manager Cherie France said, “We’re growing our program with new organic planting coming in to production this year and next. The program will include the newest organic red and green varietals with high brix and great size berries.”