As the Mexican table grape deal dwindles down, Divine Flavor will have supplies lasting until second and third weeks of July. Normally this time of the year, grape production starts shifting from Mexico to California, but recently, Mexican grape crops have been extending past its typical Sonoran availability.
Speaking with Carlos Bon Jr., sales manager of Divine Flavor, he explains what has led him and the company to have production this time of the Mexican grape deal: “In past seasons, we had some great varieties hitting markets towards the end of June/early July and our customers and their customers loved that,” said Bon Jr.
“Through strategic planning and careful execution, we mapped out a way to have those special, late season varieties available past the 4th of July weekend and into the later parts of the month before retailers completely switch over to California”.
At this point of the season, supplies of greens, reds and blacks are a bit tight, and there have been reports of total volume falling short of the estimated 20.6 million cartons due to the cooler weather in the spring and extreme heat during some of the harvesting days.
Bon mentions having this extra wiggle room at the end of the season is to be able to stretch the traditional season with better varieties of table grapes. “Of course there will always be weather concerns out of our control and the situation with Covid was another factor, but having good quality fruit this time of year has come in handy,” says Bon Jr.
“We’re in a good position to help bridge the gap from Mexico to California harvesting at peak flavor weeks in Caborca.”
Right now, the company is currently harvesting its line-up of table grapes coming from this region. Besides the Cotton Candy and Gummy Berries, the Divine Flavor ranches are also bringing in their last shipments of Sweet Celebration and Krissy for reds, and Sweet Globe and Autumn Crisp, white seedless grapes.
It was also noted the company’s premium Jelly Berry grape had several setbacks this season with timing and flavor. “There have been delays in general, but especially with our Jellyberries,” says Bon Jr.
“At our biggest ranches, it has been a learning year for us as we’ve been waiting for the jelly-like flavor to fully mature. We still have hopes of harvesting this grape with it meeting the desired flavor, but if it doesn’t meet our expectations we won’t pack it because we want the best flavor for the customers.”
On a separate note for the company, it has already been a productive year as their recent expansion in Jalisco sent its first crops of table grapes this past April, and another expansion is set to have its very first commercial grape production in Ensenada, Baja California. The company also celebrated its first-ever shipments of grapes to the markets of South Korea.