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US (CA): Persimmon harvest wraps up

As harvesting for most of California's persimmons wraps up for the year, growers are reflecting on what has been a good season.

“Volume wasn't bad this year,” said Jeff Simonian of the Simonian Fruit Company in Fowler, California. “We had a little more than expected for volume, and quality was good with good sizes.” He credited good weather during the growing season as one of the reasons for good sizing, and though rains hit several parts of the state recently, he noted that most harvesting finished up before rain could affect the fruit.

“We finished in early December, and that's normally when most people finish,” he said. “We got some rain, but we were mostly done harvesting.” But this year's crop was not completely untouched by weather. Warm temperatures early in the season affected the crop, with coloring delayed on some fruit.

“Some of this year's crop might have been affected by unusually warm weather,” said Susan Kragie, sales manager for Western Fresh Marketing in California's Central San Joaquin Valley. “Persimmons need cooler weather to get some color, but we were lucky that our fruit didn't have a problem with that.”

Demand was good, added Kragie, with good sales due to excellent quality.

“We had good quality,” she said. “When you provide people with quality fruit, they'll buy it, and our fruit had good color and was clean.” Simonian also noted that demand was good, and although export prices were somewhat better than domestic prices, he said prices were strong.

“The market was okay,” he said. “Demand for exports was a little better, but domestic demand wasn't bad either.”

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