The incoming harvest of California dates is starting later than anticipated.
“With 2018 crop nearly complete the demand is still strong. We expect new harvest to be delayed by one to two weeks due to the desert heat arriving later than expected,” says Hope Barbee of Coachella, Ca.-based Double Date Packing. “There are no new plantings of dates and at some point there will be more demand than supply from California.”
Overall, global demand for the fruit is strong, but the U.S. is also pushing its desire for the fruit. “Business has been growing. The popularity of the Medjool date is building compared to previous years,” says Barbee. “You’re seeing dates in many products on the market. Consumers are paying more and more attention to anything natural, high nutrition and plant-based.”
Strong 2019 crop outlook
Looking ahead, Barbee says that the 2019-2020 crop is coming in strong. “The medjool date bunches are heavy with the quality level that we have become known for. We grow, pack and ship our own dates,” says Barbee.
However pricing will be up somewhat. “In California, with the cost of labor going up there will be a slight increase on pricing for the new harvest,” Barbee notes.
To feature that fruit, Barbee also notes that Double Date is currently presenting new packaging in stores. “It’s fully recyclable, increases shelf life and easier for the consumer to get into and then reseal,” she says, noting that the additional packaging is an add-on to its current line of products.