U.S. table grape supplies looking strong into February
As the U.S. table grape import season picks up with Peruvian and Chilean shipments, supplies are anticipated to increase throughout January and into February.
Amid small challenges, the Peruvian volumes have been up this year in comparison to the average of the last five seasons, according to Mark Greenberg, President of Capespan North America.
“Peruvian quality has generally been very good as there haven’t been weather issues, along with good sizes from the orchards north of Lima,” Greenberg told FreshFruitPortal.com.
Due to some labor and social unrest throughout the growing regions, the expectation is that Peru’s volume will start to come down moving into February.
Chile on the other hand is expected to have a later than normal crop, as producers have replanted large volumes of their acreage with new varieties.
“These newly planted varieties have replaced the previously early maturing varieties with ones that tend to come a bit later, so fruit departing through week four is technically less in volume year-on-year," Greenberg said.
The weather has also been good in Chile throughout the growing season thus far, with the forecast of excellent fruit.
According to Greenberg, grapes have not enjoyed the “pandemic bump” as have other fruits that are more closely related to immune system strengthening characteristics.
However, “the market needs grapes and the trick is going to be to keep the inventory moving as to keep the fruit fresh and delivering crisp, strong fruit to retailers”, he said.
When asked about potential concentrated arrivals of table grapes, Greenberg said it wouldn’t surprise him to see slightly irregular arrival patterns, however, there isn’t enough specific information to know at this point.
Due to congestion at container vessel ports between Long Beach and Los Angeles, California, some Peruvian shipments are being redirected to Port Hueneme.
Along with getting the fruit sold at a continuous and constant rate, the market is absorbing the fruit at a moderate pace.
Overall, Greenberg is optimistic about table grape supplies from Chile and Peru this season.
“As long as the pickers and packers are careful, I’m confident that there will be excellent fruit this year along with the move over to newer and newer varieties that will enhance retail shelves," he said.