California Table Grape Commission Reports California Table Grape Growers Estimate 25M Boxes Lost to Hurricane Hilary; Kathleen Nave Comments
FRESNO, CA - The effects from Hurricane Hilary are still being felt across Southern California. For table grape growers, the hurricane delivered wind and rain to many vineyards at peak harvest. The storm’s aftermath also brought additional rain and humidity to growing regions, compounding problems and loss.
“The impact of the hurricane and its aftermath is devastating and heartbreaking,” commented Kathleen Nave, President of the California Table Grape Commission. “To say that the grower and farmworker community is in shock is an understatement.”
According to a press release, approximately 30 percent of the crop was harvested when the hurricane hit. It is projected that 35 percent of the remaining crop, which amounts to 25 million boxes, has been lost.
“The revised estimate for the California crop is 71.9 million 19 lb boxes,” said Nave. “The last time the crop was under 75 million boxes was 1994.”
Nave went on to explain that based on the revised estimate there are still over 45 million boxes of grapes the industry plans to ship. It is typical for California to ship over 65 percent of its crop after September 1.
“Reaching consumers at retail stores is a major focus of the work done by the commission,” Nave noted. “Partnering with retailers to get grapes on store shelves and to promote them to consumers is work that will continue throughout the season. Retailers understand that even with skilled workers it will take more time to harvest much of the remaining crop and that accordingly, to keep grapes on the retail shelves throughout the fall, the price paid to growers will need to be enough to make it worthwhile to harvest.”
Nave also noted the industry plans to continue assessing the situation in the weeks ahead and will provide updates as needed. The commission will continue its retail promotion activities and consumer advertising campaigns throughout the season.
AndNowUKnow will continue to keep you updated on the latest from California producers, so stay tuned.