Despite some challenges at the beginning of this year's pomegranate season in California, David Anthony from Ruby fresh said that, overall, the crop was pretty much the same size as the season before. This doesn't mean that the season was without challenges, the major drought did stress the fruit which caused some reduction in graded fruit for retail due to external issues, but the drought resistant nature of the shrub meant that the situation wasn’t catastrophic.
“We are optimistic with the rains that we have had over the last few months and have already been advised some of our water providers that we will have water, whereas last season had been told that there would be not allotments, so that is a positive situation for California pomegranates for the next season.” shares Anthony.
The company switches over to the South American varieties at the beginning of April.
Ruby Fresh has been sourcing pomegranates from Ica, Peru for the last 3 seasons and are about to start a program for the first time this season with Argentina, with orchards located 3 hours south of Buenas Aires in the San Juan region. A new USDA protocol for cold treatment in transit was introduced last season for pomegranates from Argentina, and Anthony said the company expects to source more from the South American country this season, on the back of the success of the preliminary trials.
There have also been recent developments in Peru, where the USDA is expected to officially announce on the 1st of April that the US market will be open for Peruvian pomegranates treated by irradiation. This is in continuation with the move to switch from methyl bromide to safer forms of pest control.
The Ruby Fresh season in Peru is expected to start between 1-3 March with loading of the first containers to happen the week starting 7 March, building up to full volume by the following week.
Anthony reported that the arils from the Peruvian orchards are sweet and healthy. To ensure continued quality for customers, the orchards in Peru are from direct cuttings from the Ruby Fresh trees in California.
"Five seasons ago we sent transplants to Peru of our Wonderful variety. They planted them and it turned into a really nice variety of plants down there as well. For us it is neat because the fruit is familiar, has the same external color, the arils look the same on the inside and they taste very good." said Anthony.
Ruby Fresh will market the Peruvian pomegranates both on the International scale to Europe, Canada and Asia and will also do some trials into the US market so they can continue with the domestic program to grocery stores and wholesalers throughout the year.
For more information:
David AnthonyRuby Fresh
Tel: +1 559 933 0340