Grapeman Farms sees increased volume on newer varieties
Grapeman Farms is one of the largest independent producers of table grapes from Mexico during the Spring table grape season. Founded in 1974, Grapeman is a U.S. headquartered table grape farming company. With vineyards located in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, Grapeman owns and operates two state-of-the-art distribution facilities in Bakersfield, CA, which is where their sales office is located. It has administrative offices in Los Angeles.
Regarding this year’s spring crop out of Mexico, Jared Lane, vice president of sales and marketing, expects a normal to slightly above average volume. “They had good weather quality up through bloom and till now, leading us to expect a normal to slightly increased volume,” he said.
Grapeman will begin promoting earlier than initially expected with the presence of Chilean fruit still in the marketplace. “Port congestion and supply chain issues means all the fruit is being delayed coming from Chile,” said Lane, adding that those late shipments can hinder the early market.
“Normally we wait until Memorial Day or after, now we can start loading before Memorial Day for promotable volume,” said Lane. “It’ll probably last May 25 through June 20 — giving a full month of promotable volume on all three colors.” At present, volume is little tighter for greens than reds, so I’d expect the greens to open up with more demand. We have a plethora of raised volume on our newer varieties — we’re going to see more Sugar Drop, Sweet Globe, Candy Snaps and Jack’s Salute along with a host of other sweet varieties.”
There are plenty of opportunities for the 2022 Mexican production, notably, Lane said, “we are starting out with a decent marketable price — fortunately, we don’t have to start out extremely high.” All equate to retail chains being able to offer fair and attractive pricing to customers.
On the retail side of things, Lane said, “there continues to be a high demand for pre-packaged clamshells, instead of bags.” While it’s too soon to see if this pandemic-related shift toward contained packaging is here to stay, for this season, at least, it is noted.
Considering the myriad of challenges facing the produce industry the past few years, Lane said there are good things to report. “All in all, the market has been good and fruit has been moving well,” he said. Additionally, Grapeman’s program in Mexico continues to lengthen, “10 years ago we use to be out by the 4th of July, now it’s more like the 15th. I expect us to go even further as we are adding production of later varieties, which will hopefully bring us to Aug. 1,” he said.
Grapeman Farms’ spring season in Mexico is already underway, with increased volume on new varieties and a positive outlook for the program.