The index of prices received by fruit and tree nut growers rose 7 percent in October 2010 compared with the October 2009 index, from 152 to 162 (1990-92=100). The October grower price index was unchanged from the previous month and both were the highest index since December 2007. The strong index in October reflects the higher grower prices for fresh-market apples, pears, grapes and lemons. The price increases for these commodities in October more than offset significant price declines for grapefruit and fresh-market strawberries.

Lemon prices remained strong in October, receiving 37 percent higher prices from this time last year. Most of last-season’s California lemon crop was finished by October and unusually wet weather reduced beginning-season supplies, causing the increase in grower prices. Wet weather that is causing delays for lemons also ended the strawberry season in the Salinas and Watsonville growing districts and caused some quality problems. Though fresh-market strawberry prices averaged less than last year, grower prices have increased 8 percent since September, representing low supply. Orange prices could be pressured down by the forecast larger 2010/11 crop and the smaller-than-average orange sizes, which are less desirable on the international market.

Continued tight supplies have maintained higher grower prices for fresh-market pears through October, with a 26 percent increase over the October 2009 average price. September fresh-market apple prices declined 2 percent but increased 12 percent in October, over the same time last year. Lower-than-average fresh-market apple supplies are being reported in storage facilities, resulting from the smaller harvest this fall. Grape growers have also received higher prices in September and October, an increase of 62 and 16 percent, respectively.