Homegrown Organic Farms' Stephen Paul Discusses the Market and Season of Stonefruit
- by Alexis Schreiber
PORTERVILLE, CA - Summer is just around the corner and stonefruit is heating up in demand! What is better than enjoying a nice, fresh, juicy nectarine, peach, plum, or pluot on a scorching summer afternoon. Stephen Paul, Stonefruit and Blueberry Category Director at Homegrown Organic Farms (HGO), had a moment to chat with me about the overall quality this season. Even though the industry has experienced some temperamental weather, consistency is on the horizon, Stephen told me.
“I would say it’s been a quality year with great tasting fruit, despite the typical ups and downs that we experience transitioning from spring to summer,” Stephen said. “We are excited for the season ahead and working with our retail partners to bring a great program to market.”
The cooler temperatures over the past couple of weeks have held back the maturity and some of the fruit and now with the consistently warmer weather, it may accelerate some maturity making for a great time for retail promotions, Stephen said.
With a steady market demand, Stephen stated it’s only getting better.
“If you were worried about whether or not the stonefruit season was going to arrive, worry no more!” he said. “The more dry days we have, the more we’ll get back to normal temps. Things will start rolling into a more of a normal pattern.”
The company’s stonefruit region is Tulare County and Fresno County. Tulare County is the most prominent producing area for Homegrown stonefruit and Fresno County as well.
The packs and sizes that stonefruit is available in depends on the commodity, Stephen said. The company offers quite a few options. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, and pluots are all in a two-layer tray pack and they also have a new 2 lb pouch bag this year.
In terms of the packaging, Stephen said the bag is really clever and eye-catching. Cherie France, the Marketing Manager, does all the design and packaging and her passion truly comes through in the finished product.
In regards to stonefruit’s time frame for the season, Stephen gave me a break down of where those varieties fall into place, starting with the first weekend of May.
“We actually start with some apricots and some nectarines primarily,” Stephen said. “We have a rapid start with apricots and nectarines. Then we introduce peaches and right now, as we move through June, Homegrown is also promoting both white and yellow peaches, now and going forward as well white and yellow nectarines and red and black plums and pluots.”
And now we are right in time for HGO’s annual peach party beginning on June 10.
For more updates on the stonefruit season and Homegrown Organic’s annual peach party, keep checking back with AndNowUKnow.