Simonian Fruit and POM Wonderful Discuss CA Pomegranate Harvest
SONOMA, CA – The Wonderful variety of pomegranate is off to an early start this season, and Field Supervisors are anticipating a normal volume.
“The early varieties have moved smoothly into the distribution channels and the decks are now cleared for the Wonderful variety. Retailers are finding strong demand for the early varieties, but there are still some retailers who hold heavy promotion until the Wonderful’s arrive,” said Jeff Simonian from Simonian Fruit Company.
Tom Rouse from POM Wonderful, an exclusive shipper of the Wonderful variety, spoke on this variety. “We like the larger size, high color and superior sugar found in this variety. We’ll start shipping the first week of October, with the harvest continuing until early November, if Mother Nature cooperates. We anticipate peaking on 22/30, but will be able to supply promotable quantities of all sizes.”
The Wonderful variety accounts for more than 80% of the pomegranates shipped from California, and orchards from Fresno South are running a week early. The harvest should begin in the last week of September, according to a press release.
Rouse added that “an increasing percentage of their shipments are going out in the very popular self shipper. The stand-alone unit provides incremental profit in previously unused floor space in the produce section, or near the check-out. Pomegranates are a high-impulse purchase item, so it’s important to put them in a high traffic location where shoppers can find them.”
Tom Tjerandsen, Manager of the Sonoma based Pomegranate Council said that, “California is expected to harvest and ship more than six million fresh market boxes of pomegranates this season.” He added that approximately 40% of California’s pomegranates are exported, principally to Canada, Korea and Taiwan. Russia had been a rapidly growing market, but with the continuing help of the MAP program other developing export markets will replace that volume.”
Pomegranates have been increasing in popularity as the foodservice industry continues to find new ways to use them, and the new easy-to-use tray packed in cup arils can be used for salads, mixed drinks and all plate presentations.