OPN Connect Newsletter 343 · October 26, 2023

Homegrown Organic Farms Offers Robust Fall Fruit Lineup

It is fair to say that there are quite a few options in the domestic organic specialty fruit category this fall, with pomegranates, Asian pears, persimmons, kiwifruit, and cranberries topping the list. But in general, fruit sets were not voluminous this year, so ad pricing may be a bit more difficult to secure.

Stephen Paul, deciduous category director for Homegrown Organic Farms in Porterville, California, went through the company's lineup with OPN Connect in detail, noting that while volumes aren’t in the bumper crop category, there should be some good opportunities for promotions.

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Stephen Paul, Deciduous Category Director, Homegrown Organic Farms

Organic pomegranates are one item that can be aggressively promoted if a retailer is willing to go to a smaller size. Paul said the larger fruit (20s and larger) has a very strong FOB price and limited supplies.

“But the 28s to 32s and smaller have a very competitive market,” he said, indicating there are promotional opportunities in those smaller sizes and that they can make a good presentation at retail.

While Homegrown will have organic pomegranates available into December, Paul said they do expect to run out of the larger fruit. Rain is the enemy of the fruit, so most growers will have it off the trees by mid-November and will be able to market the fruit for another month after that. 

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Harvesting of Homegrown's organic persimmons—both the Fuyu and Hachiya varieties—has started, and most of the entire crop will be sold over the next month, he said.

“It’s purely a holiday play,” Paul revealed. “For us, it’s a great addition to our one-stop fall fruit lineup.”

Homegrown typically has a very good organic Asian pear program, and this year is no exception. “Based on our inventory and sales, we should have Asian pears past mid-December and maybe to the end of the year. This year, the eating quality is excellent,” Paul said.

“It’s purely a holiday play. For us, [organic persimmons are] a great addition to our one-stop fall fruit lineup.” - Stephen Paul

The company also has a fall organic California kiwi program featuring its Mammoth Kiwi brand. The Mammoth Kiwi variety produces fruit as much as 50 percent larger than the more traditional Hayward variety.

“We began picking and packing it this week,” said Paul. “We will begin shipping it by the end of the second week in November [around Nov. 10].”

“The Mammoth kiwi highlights very large sizes, topping out in the 18-23 range, whereas the Heyward may peak in the 30-39 range," Paul said. He said this is the fourth season that Homegrown has offered kiwifruit, and each year its volume has increased.

Homegrown Organic Farms April 2024

The last item on Homegrown's organic fall fruit lineup card are organic cranberries grown in Oregon. “This is a very seasonal deal and new for us,” he said. “We will only have about 100 pallets this year.”

All the fruit will be marketed for the Thanksgiving holiday. “It’s another item to add to our fall fruit program,” Paul said. “We are truly a one-stop shop.”

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