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Tudor Ranch’s season to start off strong

With some land that tends to produce an early crop and relatively new Flame Seedless vines, Tudor Ranch Inc. in Mecca, CA, is expected to start the 2018 Coachella Valley grape deal with good volume.

TastyfruittiAndy EconomouAt least that was the view of longtime grape veteran Andy Economou of Tastyfrutti International Inc. in Philadelphia, which has helped sell that grower’s production for many, many years. Economou was planning on arriving in Coachella on May 7 or 8, the same date he said that shipments will begin. “Tudor has some early land with young vines as they started replanting that vineyard about 10 years ago. We are going to have a lot of volume right off the bat. I already have a couple of retailers lined up to get going early.”

Talking to The Produce News on April 18, Economou seemed more than ready to transition from the Chilean grape deal to the new crop from California. As the Chilean season was winding down, he said the Crimson Red variety was seeing a drop in demand despite a drop in supplies. Economou said retailers are looking for the newer specialty varieties, new season grapes or both.

With its very short season of only about eight weeks, Coachella Valley has not shifted to many of the new “hot” varieties, but it will have “fresh” grapes and plenty of takers come May. Economou said Tudor’s Flames will be followed in the marketplace place by a black seedless variety the second week of May and the firm’s green Sugraone variety by May 20.

He said Tudor always aims to get into the deal on the early end and exit before the Arvin deal in the southernmost region of the San Joaquin Valley gets going. “We should start by May 7 and be finished by the Fourth of July. That’s our plan.”