Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of September 16 – September 22
Since the beginning of September, California table grape movement has stabilized with steady movement on red, green and black seedless. Growers and shippers are packing good volumes and continuing to offer aggressive pricing in order to keep fruit moving through the system, especially on red seedless. Retailers are continuing to lend their support by spotlighting California table grapes in weekly circulars, and expectations are to see that trend continue well into October. Although overall quality and condition has been good so far this season, the region has experienced several weather events that have affected overall crop health. Significant spring showers, a stretch of extreme heat in July and high humidity throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley have all negatively affected this year’s crop. The California table grape commission has already adjusted down total expected volumes twice this season, and we could see further reductions in overall production due to mildew and other condition related issues.
The industry has found a consistent rhythm in regards to California red seedless with brisk movement and strong consumer support. Growers and shippers are packing excellent volumes of Scarlet Royals, which continue to top weekly shipping reports. Other red seedless like Krissy, Magenta, Sweet Celebration and other proprietary varieties are also readily available. Overall quality and condition on red seedless have fared better this season than their green counterpart. In an effort to keep coolers clean, marketers are continuing to offer aggressive FOB pricing, especially on Scarlet Royals. Pricing on Scarlet Royals currently ranges from $12.95-$13.95 on medium/large, $14.95-$15.95 on large and $15.95-$17.95 on x-large with the mostly market at $16.95. Look for FOB’s to remain at these levels through the balance of the month as growers continue to work through the peak of Scarlet Royal production.
As the season progresses, the industry has begun to see increased quality and condition issues on many California green seedless varieties. Early in the growing season, California experienced significant spring rain events, which set the stage for mildew and other condition issues. Typically, this is the time of year when California green seedless quality should be at its peak. Some growers have commented that as they walk through green seedless vineyards, the smell of fermentation is prevalent, which indicates advanced condition issues. The industry has tried to be proactive by applying fungicide treatments in an effort to stem the problem, but humid weather this summer has added an additional obstacle in trying to rectify the problem. We’ve seen a firming and uptick in overall green seedless pricing and it remains to be seen to how the balance of the season will progress. Pricing on more common varieties like Ivory, Princess and Autumn Kings currently ranges from $13.95-14.95 on medium/large, $15.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large. Growers and shippers with proprietary varieties like Sorbet, Stella Bella, Sorbet and Autumn Crisp are trying to fetch a premium $1-2 higher. The industry will have to wait and see how the crop progresses, although all indicators point to green seedless supplies coming up short towards the end of the season.
Although Summer Royal production has finished for the season, marketers are still working through volumes left in cold storages. Overall black seedless movement was sluggish in the month of August, but expectations are to see steady improvement in sales as we head to the middle of September. Growers and shippers are beginning to pack volumes of Autumn Royal, which will be the primary black seedless variety available through the balance of the season. Pricing on good quality black seedless currently ranges from $14.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large with the mostly market at $17.95. Sunworld’s Midnight Beauty are also available for retailers looking for a premium black seedless table grape. This variety is prized for its deep rich color and excellent sugar content with pricing ranging from $16.95-$20.95 with size being the determining factor. Look for promotional volumes of Midnights to be available for the next three weeks.