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Production down 15-20%

Rains resulted in early end to California’s pomegranate harvest

“Rains in California’s San Joaquin Valley around Halloween ended the state’s pomegranate harvest,” says Jeff Simonian with Simonian Fruit Company. “Whatever was left on the trees got cracked,” added Simonian. Typically, pomegranate harvest finishes between November 1 and November 15, so this year was a bit earlier. 


Unprofitable business
“It was a short season to begin with,” continued Simonian. “First, a lighter crop set in the field and secondly, some growers pulled trees in the past year. No one in the pomegranate business has been profitable in the past four to five years. Growers who grow a small pomegranate acreage (50-100 acres) or who don’t have their own packing house, have pulled out trees,” shared Simonian. “Companies that are vested in the business will continue to grow pomegranates.”

Last year, California’s pomegranate production amounted to seven to eight million boxes and this year, that number is expected to come down to 6.5 million. 

“Rain causes pomegranates to crack, which means they can’t be sold for the fresh market,” mentioned Simonian. “If you can’t see the cracks, the fruit can still be used for aril production. If you can see the cracks, the fruit can only be used for the juice industry.” 


Exports reduced
“Because of this year’s smaller production volume, a larger percentage of the crop is sold domestically,” says Tom Tjerandsen with the Pomegranate Council. “The amount of fruit available for exports has been reduced, which means the industry is having to disappoint some of its customers overseas.“

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

or

Tom Tjerandsen
Pomegranate Council
Tel: (415) 999-6289

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