Market Update For Table Grapes
Week of August 19 – August 25
Growers and shippers in the Central San Joaquin Valley are working through a bumper table grape crop originally estimated at over 115 million 19# cartons. Due to the extremely wet spring, we are beginning to see some quality issues in the fields, which has some rethinking the overall crop numbers. Most recently, the California table grape commission has stated they believe the overall crop will now fall below 108 million total cartons. Unlike last season, overall movement in July and August has been brisk, bolstered by strong retail program business currently in place. Additionally, the USDA has implanted a tariff relief program that purchases close to 100 loads of California table grapes every month. The program is setup on a bid system and fruit is distributed to food banks and other government supported programs. Although FOB pricing is still at or below break-even levels, general market quotes and overall on-hand inventories are significantly better in comparison to last year. As we head into September, California table grape production will enter its peak, but growers and shippers are confident that continued promotional activity will help to avert some of the pitfalls we saw in the market last year.
The bulk of the Flame Seedless crop has been harvested, although there are still fair supplies available packed in totes in cold storages. Overall quality and condition have declined slightly, but the majority of the fruit is still able to meet retail specification. The industry is transitioning to other red seedless varieties like Scarlet Royal, Krissy, Magenta and Timco. Initially, growers were trying to fetch a premium for these varieties but the market has settled back in with pricing pretty level across the board. Pricing on good quality red seedless 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. We have seen higher pricing on Sweet Celebrations and Jack salutes but only a select few growers are able to obtain these levels. Expectations are to see pricing remain where it is through the balance of the month as marketers continue to offer aggressive promotional pricing on California red seedless grapes.
Since the beginning of the season, Sugraone green seedless have topped weekly shipping reports, although the industry is beginning to harvest better volumes of Great Green, Ivory, Princess and other proprietary varieties. Even with the trade disruptions in the Chinese market, overall export demand still remains fairly strong on both green and red seedless. Growers and shippers are fetching anywhere between $16.95-$20.95 for export quality fruit, and expectations are to see this trend continue through the balance of the month. Pricing on good quality green seedless for the domestic market currently ranges from $13.95-14.95 on medium/large, $15.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large with the mostly market at $16.95. Look for these FOB’s to remain at these levels through the month of September as the Central Valley hits it’s peak production of green seedless grapes.
California Summer Royals production is winding down for the season, although there are still decent supplies still left in cold storages. Overall quality and condition is still very good and movement has been steady. Pricing on Summer Royals currently ranges from $14.95-$16.95 on large and $16.95-$18.95 on x-large with the mostly market at $16.95. We are seeing good production of Midnight black seedless and firm FOB’s ranging from $18.95-$22.95. Growers and shippers will begin to transition over to Autumn Royal by the end of the month with excellent opportunities to promote through the month of September.