Jeannine Martin and Cherie France Talk California Weather and its Effects on Stone Fruit Volumes
- by Jessica Donnel
CALIFORNIA - With California’s winter weather being one of the warmest on recent record this year, the state’s stone fruit volumes have been fluctuating more than average.
I spoke with Jeannine Martin, Director of Sales for Giumarra Reedley, about dealing with the weather and what’s next for California stone fruit.
“As the weather forecasters say here in California, our winter was our spring and our spring is our summer. We had a winter that did not give us enough chill/dormancy hours, and possibly the least amount of chill hours ever recorded,” Martin told me. “Most varieties of stone fruit need accumulated chill hours so the tree can do its job and produce fruit.”
I also spoke with Homegrown Organic Farms’ Marketing Manager, Cherie France. Homegrown’s crops have also been affected by the above-average heat, with start dates 10 days earlier and lighter volumes for most varieties.
Despite the lack of cold weather, it's too early to tell exactly how big of an impact it will have on the stone fruit market.
This has been a difficult and interesting time to grow in California, with both warmer weather and severe drought conditions threatening most of the state’s stone fruit companies. Despite these difficulties, both Giumarra and Homegrown have been making efforts to increase sustainability. Giumarra has been a huge propagator sustainable water usage, while Homegrown has its new “Committed to Caring” program.
“We recently launched our new sustainability program called Committed to Caring that we’re using to showcase the company’s efforts in caring for the land, the environment, and our communities,” France tells me. “We offer a full line of resources to help retailers merchandise and promote Homegrown products including grower photos and bios. Consumers love to know where their food is coming from and who their farmer is so we’ve recently included a QR code on our packaging that links with our grower stories on our website.”
Homegrown will also be adding a 4ct Peach, 4ct Nectarine, and 1lb Plum clamshells that allow for merchandising displays while also giving consumers complete viewability of the fruit. The company says that customers can expect a steady supply of premium organic peaches, nectarines, plums, and pluots available from May through the middle of August.
Also new in California stone fruit is the implementation of the new DulceVida Premium Proprietary line. The DulceVida program includes Red Apricots, White Nectarines and Yellow Nectarines with characteristics that are fragrant, rich and intensely sweet. Giumarra is the exclusive grower for the conventional line of DulceVida, and have sublicensed Homegrown to grow the organic line.
This will be the first year of commercial production for Giumarra’s conventional line, while Homegrown expects to have the organic line ready for production in 2016.
Martin explains, “DulceVida translates to “Sweet Life,” emphasizing the rich combination of superb tree-ripened flavor and European heritage. This new proprietary program is the result of an exclusive license with a 4th generation French breeder consortium. Over the last 10 years, these varieties have been extensively tested in France, as well as at our test orchards in California.”
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we continue to track the season.