Later end for California’s organic plum season

From Fresh Plaza | 12 September 2023

Overview of plums from California in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on September 8, 2023. 

The organic plum season out of California will run until the end of October this year. “Supplies are good now. Typically the season starts in early May. However the season got started late like all the other tree fruit did including peaches, nectarines and apricots along with grapes and melons,” said Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Melissa’s/World Variety Produce. That means the plum season didn’t start until the first week of June given the bloom was later this year and there was a lot more precipitation and cold in the growing areas.

Organic plums are coming out of the Central Valley of California and Melissa’s/World Variety packs its domestic plums in a clamshell of Plum Bites. This means it may include several varieties including Burgandy, Wickson, Freedom, Blackamber, Fortune, Joanna Red, Catalina, Frair, Casselman, Laroda, Grand Rosa, Howard Sun, Simka, Dapple Dandy and Angeleno. “A new variety of plums comes into season every two to three weeks. What we put in our plum bites are the best-tasting organic plums during that season,” says Schueller. “There are varieties like the Santa Rosa which lasts six to seven weeks. That’s the only true variety that lasts longer and the rest last two to four weeks.”

plum volumes by history

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Stronger plum demand

Given the late start, that means there are four fewer weeks of plums this year. “Though sales are really strong,” says Schueller, noting that plums are one of the company’s top organic items during the summer and early fall months. “We had plans for distribution in May but it just backed up and created more demand for when it became available.”

As for pricing, it looks similar to last year’s pricing. “Last year was more of a drought season so we probably had better overall supply and bigger supply because the season started in early May. However, all in all, it will be consistent with last season,” adds Schueller.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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