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Poor California growing season

Plum prices climb as end of season approaches

As summer comes to an end, the end of the plum season in the United States is also drawing near. And this year has not been the best for growers in the industry, especially in California. Jeff Simonian, of Simonian Fruit Company in California has said that overall production is down on the average. "We're at the tail end of the season now and this year has been poor in the Central California and San Joaquin valley growing regions", said Simonian. "Production is down across the region in the order of 20-30%". 

Drought stresses trees 
Despite the rain during the winter and spring months of this year, Simonian suspects that the drought of previous years has likely been the main culprit for poor yields in the field this season. He said, "Some people in the industry are blaming some bad weather during the growing period this year, but I believe the drought of the previous years has stressed the trees. This has resulted in lower fruit numbers, despite the rains we had earlier in the year." 

On the impact on the market, Simonian continued, "Demand has been solid and prices have remained strong. For a box of smaller fruits, current prices are around the $20 mark, while larger varieties will attract a price in the low $30's." 

Plum trees a long-term commitment
Plums require around three years before they bear fruit on trees and don't usually become fully vibrant until they are around five years of age. Such a long lead time involves careful planning when it comes to future yields and market demands. 

"We usually pack and ship plums from May through to September", Simonian said. "We're coming up to the end of season now and we only have a few varieties left, including Angeleno and Flavor Fall. We try to keep a constant supply throughout the season so we've planted some new varieties to help fill gaps," Simonian continued. "Some of these new varieties are Ebony Rose and Honey Punch. We only planted them last year so we'll have to wait a couple more years to see how they perform."

For more information: 
Jeff Simonian
Simonian Fruit Company 
Tel: +1 (559) 834-5307

Publication date: 9/6/2017
Author: Dennis M. Rettke
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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