The California stone fruit season will likely see a drop in volume this season.
Jon McClarty of HMC Farms in Kingsburg, California says peach shipping will begin early to mid May. “We’re coming off a big crop last year so the industry was already going to be down a little bit in volume,” he says, noting HMC Farms is shipping from the Central San Joaquin Valley. “But there have also been some frost and hail so there’s also going to be a bit of a decrease in volume due to natural weather events. I would think the industry is going to be 15-20 percent off of last year’s volume overall.”
However, the quality of fruit is expected to be strong as it was last year.
A week after peaches start, nectarines will begin and then plums start at the end of May into early June. Stone fruit shipments generally go through most of October. In all, McClarty notes it has some 30+ varieties each of peaches, nectarines, plums and white-flesh peaches.
And as for demand? “A lot of other crops have had weather events as well so in produce in general, there’s a little bit of lacking product so I expect demand to be very strong,” he says.
Also expected to be strong is pricing. “Most of our cost is in labor and that’s taking a pretty big jump as are material costs. We have to try and price ourselves at a level that we can do this again in 2023 so pricing will be strong,” says McClarty.
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