Demand looks good from Asia for California peaches and nectarines.
“There’s been a good pre-Dragon Boat Festival pull from Asia. Last week was our final week for sending ocean shipments in time for the festival,” says Ken Barbic Sr. of The Fresh Connection LLC in Reedley, CA. “We’re hoping it will stay that way the whole season on peaches and nectarines.”
Part of that optimism lies with Japan. “We’re looking forward to seeing what Japan will offer in terms of demand on nectarines,” says Barbic. “It’s been open for a few seasons and we’re hoping that will turn into more demand on nectarines.” He also notes that it’s unknown as to how demand will shape up in China for California nectarines. “People are anticipating business, but nothing has materialized yet,” says Barbic. “It’s still early.”
Good crop size
Barbic notes that the earliest varieties of both California peaches and nectarines have a good crop set. “There are plenty of peaches and nectarines out there and the quality has been good,” he says. “The fruit is eating well and the sizing is normal. It’s not too small or too big. It’s good sizes for what most markets want.” He does note that some varieties have had a lot of thinning done on the trees. “You can see it when you drive by the orchards—you can see how much little or small fruit is on the ground,” he adds.
As for pricing, Barbic notes that pricing is currently a bit stronger than last season. “Part of that is due to demand in the U.S. market—people want to eat healthy and eat fresh fruit and peaches and nectarines are in good supply,” he adds.