US (CA): Strong demand early in kiwifruit season

As the state's kiwifruit growers start harvesting this year's crop, demand has been strong. With an early end to Chilean imports, the gap in the market as made for good prices.

“We just started this week and we've seen very strong demand,” said Chris Kragie of Western Fresh Marketing. “Of course, it being early in the season, supplies are short and pricing is excellent.” The market for kiwifruit is relatively free from imports because of problems Chilean growers experienced this season. That's contributed further to a robust start to the season.

“Imports from the Southern Hemisphere cleaned up quickly this year due to a shortage of Chilean fruit,” said Roland Berndt of Sierra Produce. “As a result, demand for California fruit has been very good. The California season will have a quick start, then it'll settle in. That usually happens in three or four weeks.”

“Prices are probably a good 20 percent higher than those from last year, if not more,” said Kragie. “It's still early, but it looks like it will be a strong-priced market for this season.” He noted that prices for a nine-kilogram box of fruit were between $20.00 and $26.00 for sizes between 45s and 25s.

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