Fruit Royale Inc. in Delano, CA, has increased several grape varieties this year, mostly for the latter part of the deal, according to Louie Galvan, a partner in the company.
The harvest in the San Joaquin Valley got off to an early start for Fruit Royale this year. “We are exactly 14 days ahead of where we were last year,” Galvan told The Produce News. “Currently we are harvesting Flames and Summer Royals and we are going to start Princess by the end of the week and Red Globes the next week.”
By the end of July, “we will have Globes going full blast,” we will be “going heavy on Princess green seedless,” and will also be packing Scarlet Royal red seedless grapes, he said.
So far, the crop is “much improved from where we were last year,” Galvan continued, noting that bunch sizes are larger and berry sizes are more consistent.
With the industry potentially on track for another record harvest, “and I would be surprised if we weren’t, judging by some of the counts we’ve seen out there,” it is fortunate that “Mother Nature has handed us” a good quality crop as well as a large crop, Galvan said. “That is half the battle. The rest is up to us to market it correctly and keep it moving.”
Following the Fourth of July holiday, movement went through its typical post-holiday slowdown, he said. Still, “demand seems to be there, and receivers are happy with what they are getting, so they are looking down the road for more opportunities.” With “a pretty decent size drop coming at us,” retail support over the next two months “will make all the difference in the world,” but he expects that support, since “we’ve got good grapes to sell. I don’t think anybody is not going to be promoting, because the opportunities are there.”
As the harvest moves from the early varieties into the mid-season varieties beginning in late July and early August, Fruit Royale’s program will be similar to what it has been past years. Company increases in acreage for mid-season varieties during the August and September period are “very minor,” Galvan said. “Our fall deal is where the major increases will show themselves.”
“We’ve got some increases in the Scarlet Royal and in the Crimson and Autumn Royal” as well as in Autumn King, he said.
With regard to packaging, “we are packing now a handle bag on a regular basis, as are many others,” he said. “We try to have it here on the daily menu.”