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South American stone fruit season about to peak

The South American stone fruit season is progressing along well, with steady volume and a good market. The season is approaching the midpoint and many varieties are about to come into peak supply. With overall good growing conditions, suppliers are pleased with the way fruit is moving.

"The undertones of the market are very good," said Craig Padover of Jac Vandenberg. "Last year was a very strange season and advanced very quickly. This year so far we are seeing a more steady season in terms of timing and volume. Supply is somewhat lighter than normal and inventories are moving quickly. This year also marked the first year nectarines were allowed to be shipped directly to China, which took some of the supply pressure off the market."

"In the next two weeks, we are going to see a peak on all the major species - plums, peaches and nectarines," Padover continued. "Later there will be an overlap on plums. Overall, this season feels much more positive than the previous season and will hopefully be a great harbinger for seasons to come."

Specialty varieties making an appearance
A number of specialty stone fruit varieties are joining their more established cousins. One of these includes the Regal'in. Padover said this proprietary variety was originally developed in France, but acreage has now been well established in South America. "Under the Regal'in umbrella we see Nectareine and Nectariane, both of which are yellow flesh, and Nectaperle as well as Nectarjewel with white flesh." 

"One of my favorite Regal'in is the Maillarmagie, which is a white flesh nectarine," Padover added. "This is a great variety that ships and eats well. They also have a wonderful shelf life, low acid, high BRIX and can be eaten soft or hard. They only have a short season, available for 4 weeks - they eat like candy." 

The introduction of more specialty varieties, including the Lemon Plum, is a good move for retailers as well as customers, according to Padover. He noted that it is evidence that growers in South America are also paying more attention to flavor rather than filling up containers. "Having such interesting varieties certainly encourages retailers to stock South American fruit," he said. "Whereas in the past it's been a bit of a battle, this year retailers have been actively seeking out stone fruit during the offshore season. Producers are expanding on acreage and are focusing on the flavor profiles and offering greater choices."

Mid-season fruit about to enter market
As the peak on stone fruit arrives, the market is set to see more mid-season fruit over the coming weeks, followed by later season varieties, including plums. "We're not even up to the mid-season fruit just yet, such as Larry Anne plums which have not even started," Padover noted. "Generally, peaches and nectarines will ship through early to mid-March."

"In terms of plums, they will be the last to peak," he continued. "The two big late season varieties are Black Cat and the Angelino. Depending on the season, Angelinos should continue through early to mid May."

For more information:
Craig Padover
Jac Vandenberg
Tel: +1 (914) 964-5900

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