“We’ve got increases in varieties really across the board” for the latter part of the season this year, said Louie Galvan, a partner in Delano, CA-based Fruit Royale Inc.
The early part of the company’s grape program, basically the months of July and August and the first part of September, will be “pretty much status quo for us,” he said. But “our fall program is going to increase by about 30 to 40 percent” due to new vineyards coming into production and some vineyards that have been grafted over to new varieties coming on line.
The major increases will be in the Scarlet Royal and Autumn King varieties with some significant growth in Autumn Royal as well.
Autumn King and Scarlet Royal “have done very well for us the last few years, and I guess it only makes sense to try to get a few more in the ground. They are good grapes, solid, big sizing, and they export quite well.”
The 2011 season for Fruit Royale was getting off to a late start. “We start packing tomorrow,” Mr. Galvan told The Produce News July 13. That is six days later than last year and [around] two weeks behind normal timing.
The company’s earliest variety is Flame seedless. Those are followed by Summer Royal black seedless which he expected to begin harvest about three or four days after the Flames, with Red Globes beginning probably the first week of August. Fruit Royale has one of the earlier Red Globe plots in the district, he said.
“The fruit looks fantastic,” Mr. Galvan continued. “It’s got nice bunch size and even color and sizing. The fruit is in great shape.” In contrast to “what we had last year to work with, I think everybody is optimistic.”
Fruit Royale also sells a Mexican grape deal, and “the Mexican deal was short this year,” Mr. Galvan said. “Coachella, from what I hear, has been short as well,” and with Delano and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley being late, that has resulted in a one to two week gap in having sufficient supplies of grapes in the market for promotions. “The pipeline is empty for the most part, so we are getting pretty good interest on some of our first grapes,” he said.
The current pricing for grapes indicates “right away” that there is a gap in supplies, he said.
With the San Joaquin Valley harvest just starting, he said he expected a “stutter-step” in supplies during the first week, “as always. By July 25, Fruit Royale should be shipping “some decent volume” in Flames and Summer Royals, he said. “I am going to be looking for some promotion type business” by the following weekend.
By the end of July or the first week in August, “we are really going to hit our stride,” Mr. Galvan said.
Fruit Royale does a significant export business with Mr. Galvan’s brother, John Galvan, also a partner in the company, handling the export sales. “It looks like for us we are probably going to be into August before we start exporting” this year, although” we might fly a few of the Flames and some of the Summer Royals” to export destinations sooner than that “once the sugar is there,” Mr. Galvan said.