Despite a slow start to the season, California stone fruit growers say they are now enjoying a good quality crop. Along with the improved growing conditions, volume is also picking up. It’s a rather lengthy season, with first fruits generally available early May, with the season extending well into the fall.
“We began with our yellow peaches on May 7, followed a week later by yellow nectarines,” shared George Papangellin of Gerawan Farming. “The trees experienced a sufficient amount of chill hours during the winter but the rain and cool temperatures in late May did slow down the harvest. During the early part of the season, this also had an effect on BRIX and the overall flavor profile, but by late June, we had already overcome this issue.”
Papangellin said, “Currently we have yellow and white peaches and nectarines available, as well as making a start on plums. Our plum season started a week ago and will continue through September. Yellow nectarines will also continue until mid September while white nectarines and peaches will last into August. Our late Prima® Gattie peaches will load through the later part of October.”
California market challenged
Peach growers in the Southeast have reported excellent conditions and many of them are experiencing a bumper crop. This means there is plenty of supply in the market creating downward pressure on prices. It’s not just peaches and nectarines enjoying decent production, with cherries from the Northwest and grapes from Mexico arriving in high volumes in US stores.
“Price-wise, the market has been challenged on both white and yellow flesh peaches and nectarines,” Papangellin observed. “There is a lot of supply nationwide, particularly of yellow peaches. Additionally, supplies for other commodities are in good supply and gaining the attention of consumers.”
Continual development of Prima® brand
Prima® is Gerawan Farming’s stone fruit brand and represents the company on their various stone fruit products. The company said it prides itself on the consistency and quality of the fruit they ship out under the Prima® brand. Consequently, Gerawan Farming has a breeding program where they develop varieties and then choose the ones they wish to develop further and commercialize.
“Our extensive breeding program has provided us with many successful candidates for propagation,” Papangellin said. “We will nurture them and then carefully select now and hopefully in two to three years they will be ready to enter commercial production.”
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