Market Update for Table Grapes
Week of September 25 – October 1
The California table grape commission just released the first storage report and as expected, volumes are down by close to 40%. The bigger question is about the 5.8 million boxes currently on hand. How many are good enough to make retail spec? Rejections over the past two weeks continue to cost growers money and nothing in the future indicates that quality and condition will improve. Some growers are hanging in, as some blocks of fruit have recovered better than others. There is real concern that California volumes will dry up by the first week of November, but volumes from Brazil are already being put on water to hopefully fill that void. We can expect to see significantly more volume from Brazil imported to the U.S. this fall, as growers are diverting fruit from Europe to hopefully take advantage of a very short supplied market. Look for spot market prices in November to top $40.00, especially for red seedless.
Quality and condition of Scarlet Royal have been hit or miss and we have seen a rise of retail rejections over the past two weeks. Finding perfect fruit is not possible at this time, so the industry will need to adjust until better quality fruit from South America arrives in early November. Allisons and Sweet Celebrations seem to be in better condition, so hopefully things will improve as we get into these later varieties. Currently, FOBs range from $28.95 to $30.95 for Scarlet Royal and $30.95 to as high as $34.95, with the mostly market at $32.95 for Allisons and Sweet Celebrations. There were some limited volumes of Brazilian Sweet Celebrations on the east coast last week at $34.00 FOB and we should see these volumes increase each week into October.
We are starting to see growers get into some better-quality Autumn Kings, just in the nick of time, as condition on Princess and Ivory have been on the decline. We have still seen steady rejections over the past two weeks, with discoloration from the rain affecting the fruit the most. There will be better volumes of green seedless over the next two months as some growers feel they can continue packing fruit through October and into November. It will be very unlikely to see California green grapes for the December market. Brazil will start shipping very good volumes over the next 4 weeks, so retailers should have better options for green seedless this fall. Currently, the spot market ranges from $26.95 to as high as $30.95, but we can expect the mostly market to settle in at $28.95 FOB through the month of October. Once we get to November, spot market pricing should spike higher.