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California eyes more colored kiwi production in coming seasons

Kiwi supply is starting to wind down in California. "We're probably one of the only shippers still shipping out of California," says Al Bates, president of Sun Pacific Shippers, who adds that it will continue shipping California fruit until the 1st of July. After that point, the company will transition into import supply out of Chile.

As far as the transition to imports, that matches historical timing as to when imports start in the marketplace. "We've gone later before with California kiwi–we usually try to finish up between early to mid-July before there are really significant imports coming in," says Bates. That said, there are anomaly years–two years ago, a large California crop meant that Sun Pacific shipped into September.

This year's crop however has been a medium-sized crop with good quality. "We had a bigger crop than the previous year but overall it was the right sized crop for the industry to market."

Shipments from the Southern Hemisphere
Also shipping right now are kiwis from Southern Hemisphere countries including New Zealand. While those are largely the Gold kiwis, Hayward kiwis are also being shipped. As for California, while it is largely growing the green Hayward kiwis, it is also moving towards growing its version of gold Kiwi and has already moved into red kiwis. "Diving into more of the different colored varieties will allow us to supply our customers better," adds Bates.

Demand for kiwi also looks as per usual. "It has been consistent over the last few years," says Bates, adding that 75 percent of its fruit is in controlled atmosphere (CA) which allows it to stay longer in the marketplace.

As for pricing, it has improved over the prior year which was needed given growing and shipping costs have increased by about 50 percent over the last four to five years.

For more information:
Al Bates
Sun Pacific Shippers
Tel: +1 (213) 612-9957