The Coachella Valley district in California is still pumping out steady volumes of organic table grapes and is expected to have fruit through July. Combined with Mexico’s volume winding down quickly, organic production from the San Joaquin Valley is expected to kick off by mid-July, resulting in promotable supplies of organic table grapes throughout the summer.
Nick Bozick of Richard Bagdasarian Inc., Mecca, CA, said that while it has not been a bumper year for Coachella grapes as weather issues delayed the crop and produced lighter supplies, he is expecting a very good July. “We will have conventional grapes into the third or fourth week of July and we will have organic grapes through the entire month,” he said on June 23,” he said.
Nick Bozick, Richard Bagdasarian Inc.
Bozick said cooler-than-usual temperatures in March and April are the culprits for the longer and lighter season. Traditionally, it has been searing temperatures above 115 degrees as the summer progresses that ends the Coachella deal. But Bozick said the newer varieties are bred to better withstand those temperatures and this year the long-range forecast is predicting relatively cooler weather. Indeed, over the next two weeks, forecasters are saying that the average temperatures will only be about 105 with only one day forecast above 110. Last year, the thermometer registered numbers in the 120-degree range, which curtailed the season.
Homegrown Organic Farms organic grapes
Last year also saw huge volumes of both organic and conventional table grapes from Mexico, especially in June, which caused very low markets for all table grapes. Bozick said that has not been the case this year and he expects a strong ending to the season.
While the Coachella Valley is later than usual, Craig Morris of Homegrown Organic Farms in Porterville, CA, said the organic grape crop in the San Joaquin Valley “looks to be ahead of last year by about four or five days. We will start shipping reds around July 11th with the greens about 10 days after that.”
Morris said by the last week of July, Homegrown should have promotable volumes of both red and green organic table grapes and that should be the case into October. Except for some Flame Seedless, Homegrown, which is 100 percent organic, has converted its table grape acreage to the newer, high-yielding, sweeter varieties that are favored by consumers. He is anticipating an excellent season and very good volume.
Craig Morris, Homegrown Organic Farms
While these new varieties are known by the retail trade, who often asks for them by name, Morris said that retailers still promote by color. As such, the varieties will change all summer, but the volume will remain at a promotable level. He added that Homegrown’s volume skews toward red and green varieties, but there should also be good supplies of organic black grapes as well from other shippers.
Anthony Vineyards organic grapes
Rob Spinelli of Anthony Vineyards, which has good production of organic grapes from both Coachella Valley and the San Joaquin Valley, said the shipper’s volume from two distinct districts will overlap this year. The company’s Coachella volume will last well into late July while its organic red grapes from SJV will begin on July 6, with red and blacks starting the following week. “The sizing is looking good,” he said this week.
Spinelli observed that Anthony’s organic grape volume this summer should be similar to last year. “We will see an increase in 2021 as we have some varieties that will be coming in that should increase our volume quite a bit.”
Rob Spinelli, Anthony Vineyards
He agreed that this has been a much better year for domestic grape growers than 2019 because of the drop in supplies coming from Mexico. He foresees light volume of organic green grapes through much of July until the Ivory variety gets going in the last week of thse month. Spinelli also agreed that there will be promotable volumes of all three colors this summer, with August and September being especially good for organic red promotions.
On June 23, the National Specialty Crops Organic Summary noted that all three colors of organic table grapes from Coachella were in the $35 range for an 18-pound box.