If apricots and peaches were mostly spared by the spring frosts, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for plums: "There is even less harvest than we thought, the frost was more devastating than it was last year," reports Eric Tastayre, manager of the Apifood company. The situation is especially noticeable for the Reine-Claude. "The earliest varieties were the most affected. The Reine-Claude, for example, has lost nearly 40% of its harvest.
High prices won't compensate for volume losses
These limited volumes have resulted in sustained prices: "We are trying to do our best to limit a price increase that would be too high for the consumer while guaranteeing the best possible value for the producer, who has already been impacted by a reduced harvest. A balance that is not always easy to obtain. Unfortunately, these high prices will not compensate for the loss of volume caused by the frost".
A tough campaign due to a lack of product
Despite the current particular economic context and high prices, the demand for plums remains high: "We are lucky this year to have an amazing quality of plums. The high level of sunshine has allowed the fruit to gorge itself with sugar and the plums are holding up well. Moreover, the heat wave encourages the consumption of summer fruits. Therefore, faced with limited volumes and such quality, the demand is strong. And to find a product to meet it, we find ourselves in a real race to buy!
Are late varieties less impacted?
In the next few days, Apifood is getting ready to enter the heart of the season: "We started harvesting about ten days ahead of schedule on several varieties, and now it is starting to settle down a little. We are waiting to see what volumes will come out of the orchards for the next varieties. We hope that the harvest of the Tc Sun will be a little more important than expected, as for the Grenadine it looks like there will be a little more. But it is difficult to give an accurate assessment until the fruits are in the crates. In any case, the season is likely to be shorter due to this lack of volume.
Despite the situation, Eric wants to remain positive: "We are still here and we will be here next year! Fortunately, we have our new warehouse in Moissac, which has come at the right time. It allows us to get a little more merchandise by receiving and shipping the fruit directly from the producers. As for the heat wave, of course, we are suffering from it, but we are doing well compared to other regions that have much heavier watering restrictions than we do.