Supplies on the tight side

California stone fruit prices higher

California stone fruit that’s being shipped into Ontario, Canada, is just getting started. Supply is good, but “not out of control,” according to Larry Davidson of Toronto-based North American Produce. The company has programs for peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots and cherries.

The east coast of the USA was challenged this year, Davidson stated. “They lost most of their crop from winter and spring weather so it’s made for much tighter circumstances from California.” Plus, with the combination of much of Californian stone fruit trees being pulled out of the ground over the past 10 years he says it’s made for higher prices. “Across the board all prices are high – everything is higher than it would normally be at this time of year based on historical price trends.”

No additional plantings
It’s too early for people to think about adding tree fruit acreage back into the ground. “I think what you’re going to see, hopefully with prices the way they are, (growers) will be able to make some money this year.” So far the state’s water situation is good, which he noted it hasn’t been in the past. Overall, he feels the whole industry is challenged as far as water, lack of labor, and cost of labor. I think the overall scheme is a real challenge. I don’t see people planting more, not at this point.”

Snug supplies at beginning of season
Supply is on the snug side, but it’s only the beginning of the season. Volume will start to come on after the Memorial Day holiday and Davidson will have a better idea of the season once it’s a couple of months in. Stone fruit continues to see an even keel in terms of consumption. He sees stone fruit as a secondary category. “It’s not like bananas, grapes, apples or pears. When handled properly, with the right fruit in season, it’s popular.”

For more information:
Larry Davidson
North American Produce
Ph: 416-255-5544

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