Supplies of cherries from California are good as the state hits peak supplies of the deal.
“We’re probably going to hold steady with peak supplies through the Memorial weekend,” says Nick Lucich of Delta Packing Co. in Lodi, CA. “For us, the season wraps up after the Hollister and Gilroy harvest of cherries and that’s typically towards the end of June. We’re thinking maybe that week of June 20th sometime.”
This follows a seven-day later start to the season. “That’s due to the cooler than normal temperatures that we’ve been averaging and cooler nights. It keeps the fruit from really progressing quickly,” says Lucich. He notes that the delay is giving the cherries time to size up and develop more sugars. “It’s been a saving grace too because we’ve been having a lot more wind than normal,” he says, adding that the wind can sometimes cause issues such as discoloration on the cherries, fruit rubbing on the limbs as well as reducing some of the firmness that’s preferred in cherries. “And there’s been no rain. That’s been probably the best part of this deal is no rain.”
Good quality year
That said, Lucich adds that the fruit has been good quality this year and so far, California has shipped approximately four million boxes. It’s below where estimates put shipping at this time halfway into the deal--the projection was approximately nine million boxes this season. “Some of the pack outs are not as high and sizing hasn’t been that great in May. In general, stone fruit isn’t sizing as well,” says Lucich. “So lower pack outs and sizing is maybe the culprit behind why we’re missing our numbers a little bit. But overall there are still good supplies.”
And demand still exceeds supply on California cherries. “We haven't had a lot of quality issues and that’s created good demand with repeat buyers,” says Lucich.
As for pricing, it’s holding strong and is a bit above average for when California would have this type of volume. “Pricing may get a little aggressive come post-holiday but it looks like pricing will hold steady. I don’t see it changing too much,” Lucich says.