This season’s San Joaquin Valley table grape was late, but it started off strong, according to Dave Clyde, president of Stevco, a major valley fresh grape producer.

The season started about 10 days later than usual, it began on a high note. “Overall, the crop looks very good; we have good berry size and good production, and demand is better than we’ve seen in the last few years.”

That unusually strong demand reflects about a two-week gap in the supply of grapes between the end of the harvest in the desert table grape producing areas (Coachella Valley and Mexico) and the San Joaquin Valley.

Normally the two overlap. But this year, Clyde explains, consumers stepped up demand for the late-season desert grapes to make up for the lack of cherries from Washington, where weather delayed development and harvest of that crop. In fact, the first Washington cherries were scarce in stores until after July 4. In the meantime, many consumers kept buying more table grapes for fresh fruit.

“They cleaned out the stockpiles of table grapes, which has really left us in a short supply situation as the San Joaquin Valley season starts.”

You can read more about what these California grape industry leaders have to say by visiting back issues of GrapeLine at http://subscribe.westernfarmpress.com/subscribe.cfm?tc=NNWEB where you can also subscribe to future, exclusive in depth issues.