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Fruit Royale expects volume increases, promotable quantities for fall grape deal

A lighter-than-normal supply of California grapes available in the market during the first part of summer, coupled with strong demand, has resulted in “a demand-exceeds-supply situation for the last month or so,” Louie Galvan, a partner in Delano, CA-based Fruit Royale Inc., said Aug. 5.

Grapes have been moving well at good prices, “so the coolers have been staying relatively clean” without the inventory buildup that can occur by early August some years. So from a grower and marketer standpoint, “everything so far has been ideal,” he said.

Retailers, however, have been anxious for volume to increase so they can put grape promotions in place, and those opportunities are coming, according to Mr. Galvan.

“We should be hitting our stride here, volume-wise, towards the end of the month, so from August on, there is going to be good volume,” he said. “We will have goo promotable volume for the month of September at the very least” and likely through October as well.

“We’ve got some big, beautiful grapes,” he said. “The grapes are fantastic. They are some of the best grapes we have ever seen. The size is there. The bunch size is there. The quality and condition are just ideal. It is a vintage year for grapes.”

Fruit Royale has “increases in varieties really across the board” for the latter part of the season this year, Mr. Galvan told The Produce News in an earlier interview in July. “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.

Elaborating on that in the Aug. 5 interview, he said, “We’ve got some late varieties planted. We’ve got Autumn King. We’ve got Sweet Celebration. We’ve got Scarlet Royal, Crimson, Autumn Royal. So we’ll have plenty to choose from for the late deal.”

The company had just finished its Flame harvest and was currently packing Princess, Summer Royal and Red Globe as well as Sweet Surrender, a black seedless variety. “Sweet Sunshine green seedless we will also start up here Thursday or Friday of next week,” Mr. Galvan said.

“We are looking to start the Scarlet Royal and a few Crimsons within the next 10 days or so,” Mr. Galvan said. “We’ll have Scarlets and Crimsons about the same time.”

Already, the color on those varieties was “absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “In the past, we have always struggled with color with Crimsons. I don’t think that is going to be the case this year. We should have nice full color on Crimsons.”