For Stevco Inc., which is headquartered in Los Angeles and has branch offices in Nogales, AZ, and in Coachella and Bakersfield, CA, will have an increase in acreage of both Flame seedless grapes and Sugraone green seedless grapes during the early part of the season in California’s San Joaquin Valley, according to Jared Lane, vice president of sales and marketing.
As usual, the company’s grape harvest in California’s San Joaquin Valley will start in the Maricopa district, located southwest of Bakersfield at the southern end of the valley. “Then we follow up into the Bakersfield area and on up into Delano.” By August 1, “we should be going in all three areas,” Lane told The Produce News.
“Most of our early production comes from the Maricopa region,” he said.
With the additional Flame and Sugraone acreage in production, “this year we will have an additional 100,000 [boxes of Sugraones” and an additional 80,000 boxes of Flames, he said.
The anticipated start date will be June 24, “which is about eight to nine days earlier than normal,” Lane said. “We will start Flames and Sugraones first,” followed by Princess, Red Globes and Scarlet Royals. “We will have Princes starting probably around the 18th of July” out of Maricopa. They are “some of the earliest Princess produced in California.”
He expected Red Globes should start about July 22, which is also early. Stevco’s Red Globes do not normally start until August or nearly so.
“Scarlet Royals will probably start around the 29th of July,” Lane continued. “Our early Scarlet Royals primarily go export, but we have grown in size, so we will start developing a domestic market also.”
Stevco also has “extremely large” grape programs out of Mexico and California’s Coachella Valley, he said.
When The Produce News talked to Lane, he was in Nogales, AZ, selling the Mexican grapes.
The company continues this year with “the same team we have always had on sales,” and they were currently spread out in different locations to handle the various deals. Some were in Nogales, some were in Coachella and some were in Bakersfield, he said.
The harvest in Mexico and in Coachella was running later than normal, and the season was running very early in the San Joaquin Valley, which was expected to make for a challenging transition this year, Lane said.
In July, when the San Joaquin Valley harvest is under way, the company will also be harvesting Scarlet Royale grapes out of Coachella. That program has grown to over 200,000 boxes. “It is big growth for our company,” Lane said.
Stevco will also have “large growth” in later varieties this year in the San Joaquin Valley, he said.