Vertical Food’s California fig crop is right around the corner and harvesting begins the first week of June.
“Our Breba Black Mission crop harvest is starting early compared to last year, but the crop is lighter,” says Casey Hollnagel of Vertical Foods in Reedley, CA. “This allows us to better keep up with picking at the perfect ripeness as the figs mature.”
Currently, Vertical Foods is still bringing up figs from Mexico, albeit in light supply. “We cut back on our program because demand was low at the beginning of the pandemic. We are beginning to see demand shift as consumers are looking for more at-home options,” says Hollnagel. During the height of the pandemic, retailers were focusing more on staple or core items and not as much on smaller specialty products such as figs.
Change in demand
“Fortunately, demand is starting to turn around,” says Hollnagel. “Summer is coming, and people are getting out. We are seeing an increase in demand for figs and feel optimistic about our California season coming up.”
Hollnagel anticipates pricing to be similar to last year for California figs.
Meanwhile, Vertical Foods is bridging the season this year with Mexican fig programs to fill gaps and build a year-round supply. “There is a gap between Black Mission Breba figs, and the main crop and we can fill that gap with Black Mission organic and conventional figs, which has never been done before,” says Hollnagel.