King Fresh's Keith Wilson Discusses California Grapes and Strong Mexican Grape Market
- by Laura Hillen
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CA & MEXICO – The industry has somehow found itself nearing the end of May, which means harvesting has begun for King Fresh’s grape program out of Mexico, with California soon to follow. As President Keith Wilson recently told me, the company is right on track for production of grapes from both regions.
“Red grapes are projecting to reach the same volume as last year’s production levels,” Keith says as we talk about different varieties for the company’s domestic supply. “The California grape crop in the San Joaquin Valley is looking very good for red, green, black, and red globes.”
Recent weather has been of big concern for a lot of Californian markets, but Keith tells me that the fluctuating temperatures have only had a small effect on the harvesting start date. “There has been cool weather,” says Keith, “but it’s only caused us to be about five days later than what we were expecting.”
International harvest began in Mexico on May 6 for Flame red seedless varieties, and Perlette and early sweet green seedless varieties began harvest on May 2. The company’s Mexican green grapes, says Keith, will have similar volume and quality in comparison to last year’s crop.
So just how is the market at this point? “Mexican grapes will have a strong market through June, but for California it’s a bit too soon to tell,” Keith says.
Retailers can expect King Fresh products to be packaged, as Keith states, "In every form of packaging imaginable to fit their needs." King Fresh will package its product in fixed weight clamshells and high-graphic handle bags, as well as they company’s random weight pouch bags, which the company has found to be most popular.
“Consumers will also have the option of bi and tri-color clamshells from King Fresh” Keith finishes. “We like to give our retailers opportunities to promote grapes in a variety of packaging with ad pricing throughout the season, and can also consolidate products at our two facilities in California and at our loading facility in Nogales, AZ.”
As we move through the Mexican season and into California grapes, keep up with AndNowUKnow as we report on quality and volume through the summer.