The size of the 2020 table grape crop will end up being about equal to that of 2019, an industry group is now predicting.
The California Table Grape Commission has revised its estimate for this year's production to 104.9 million 19-pound boxes, down from its April estimate of 106.5 million. The final harvest in 2019 was 104.99 million 19-pound boxes.
“Estimating the crop is a detailed process that is formally undertaken three times a year and involves volume projections based on growing districts,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the commission. “The significant amount of vineyard removal in 2019 appears to have been offset by new vineyards coming into production in 2020."
With demand remaining strong, growers believe the season will be positive, Nave said.
“Quality is excellent and demand is strong in the U.S. and in export markets, and grapes are a perfect fit for consumers in these complicated times: simple, flavorful, versatile, and full of health-enhancing phytonutrients that boost immune health," she said.
Nave notes that 65 percent of table grapes are typically shipped between Sept. 1 and the end of January, making grapes a fall and early winter fruit as well as a fixture of summer. More than 80 varieties of table grapes are grown in California.
'Goodness Matters' campaign
The slightly revised crop estimate comes as the commission is urging consumers to support the California industry during the coronavirus pandemic. Featuring radio commercials, social media outreach supported by advertising, and a series of messages delivered to retailers, "California Goodness Matters" highlights the importance of supporting the farming communities in California that grow and harvest 99% of the nation’s fresh table grapes, the panel explains.
“Goodness in all forms matters now more than ever,” Nave said. “Recognizing that the decisions we make as consumers make a difference in the livelihood of others and in the economic survival of small rural communities is what the California Goodness Matters campaign is about. It is also about the goodness that is California grapes.”
The campaign reaches consumers in California markets over radio in English and Spanish. Award-winning chef and restaurateur, Aarón Sánchez, is featured in a 15 second Spanish-language spot, focusing on his belief in the importance of supporting those who grow and harvest our food.
The next phase of the campaign will include two more radio commercials, focusing on healthy eating. Sánchez will voice the first spot and Amy Brown, co-host of "The Bobby Bones Show" syndicated to more than 150 radio stations throughout the country, will voice the second spot. Both Sánchez and Brown will also share their thoughts on California grapes in a social media push.