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Grapeman Farms leads the way in California grapes

By
Keith Loria

For 48 years, Grapeman Farms has been growing the highest quality of grapes at its vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley, and the company is continuing its long tradition as a leader in California grapes this season.

“Movement has been good,” said Jared Lane, vice president of sales and marketing for the Los Angeles-based company. “I expected it to be a little bit more active than what it was in July. It seems like demand was kind of flat, but fruit is moving and there seems to be demand for red grapes, and we’re starting to see more and more volume each week.”

One positive trend, he noted, is an increase in the export side of things, compared to the past two years. And he noted that the fall crop of California grapes is looking promising.

“There are some younger vines hitting their peak stride and they should have extremely good quality and condition,” Lane said, adding that yields also look promising with quite a bit of fruit on the vines.

He added California grapes are popular as the state is perfect for growing high-quality grapes.

“California has the ideal atmosphere and climate for grapes and there’s not a lot of rain when we’re harvesting,” he said. “It’s very dry, which reduces the mold that can grow on the grapes out in the cold store.”

Table grapes are the fourth-most popular fruit among American consumers, but while many people think in terms of red, green and black grapes, more than 90 different varieties of the fruit are grown in California, and each has its own distinct color, shape, texture, and flavor profile. In terms of varieties, Lane said the higher-flavor grapes are trending up while there is less demand for conventional varieties.

“It depends on where you marketing to, where you’re going into,” he said. “There’s export, high-end domestic, low-end domestic. I think there’s a spot for every box of grapes, you just have to make sure the price meets over and above the production price.”

The majority of the company’s sales are focused on North American national grocery retailers, as Grapeman Farms works with seven of the 10 largest retailers in the United States. It also has a robust export program to Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, with a key focus on Japan.

Lane pointed out varieties that are growing in popularity, including Jack Salute, Great Green, and Hausen.

“So, we have quite a big program in the fall that runs very late, all the way into Christmas time, even possibly four to five days after Christmas,” he said, adding that retailers can play a role in boosting sales of California grapes.

Of course, retailers can play a role in boosting the sales of California grapes.

“Bigger displays and more ads would be helpful,” Lane said. “Also, a lot of different retailers have clam shells and bags together and it’s been successful.”

And with their delicious flavor and health benefits, it’s only natural that California grapes will sell well when they are showcased.

 

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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