California fruit suppliers anticipate plenty for summer


California summer fruit suppliers are anticipating a brisk May-August season in 2019, with plenty of supplies to fill orders. That is, once it gets going.


“I think the biggest challenge is that the crop timing looks a little later than last year,” said John Harley, sales manager with Bakersfield, Calif.-based grape grower-shipper Anthony Vineyards. 

Quality will not be an issue, though, he said. “The quality looks to be much better (than in 2018),” he said. Harley said he expected to start around May 10 and run through the end of June.

There should be plenty of fruit to promote, which would be roughly the same as in 2018, Harley said.


Various issues complicated California’s citrus early this year, but things had begun to settle by early April, said Joel Nelsen, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual.

“This season has been anything but stellar for the citrus producer unless you were exclusive to lemons,” he said. 
He said the summer is shaping up to be a good one.

“The size structure is better, although large sizes will remain a premium in price for both navels and mandarins,” he said. 

The industry will have “good-quality fruit” through the Fourth of July for oranges, Nelsen said, noting that mandarin varieties will wind down in May and lemons will be strong into the summer, pending offshore product at lower prices arriving. 

Santa Paula, Calif.-based citrus grower-shipper Limoneira Co. anticipates the total crop to be down 10% to 15%, compared to 2018, said John Chamberlain, director of marketing.

Fresno-based Trinity Fruit Sales Co. Inc. is seeing “one of the biggest mandarin crops we’ve ever had,” said Levon Ganajian, retail relations director.

“Normally, we go through April, but this year, I think we’re going through May.”

Stone Fruit

Trinity Fruit anticipated a May 5 start for stone fruit.

“I think we’re going to have one of the biggest crops we’ve ever had,” Ganajian said. 

Fowler, Calif.-based stone fruit grower-shipper Simonian Fruit Co. said its plums, apricots, peaches and nectarines were running a bit late, but it was looking good.

“The crop looks good,” sales manager Jeff Simonian said, although he added that it was still too early to provide a detailed forecast.

Hanford, Calif.-based The Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC is getting ready for its Verry Cherry plum — a high-brix fruit cross between various cherry and plum varieties, said Maurice Cameron, president.

Flavor Tree expects to begin harvesting Verry Cherry around the third week of June, with the deal going into August, Cameron said.

Volume this year is projected to grow by more than 100% over a year ago, Cameron said.

By Jim Offner