Kiwi Growers Farming New Varieties

Great Harvest for CA Kiwi Growers

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California kiwi growers are having a great season! California Ag Today recently spoke with Nick Matteis, Assistant Manager for the Kiwifruit Administrative Committee, based in Sacramento, about the harvest.

“The crop looks great! We’ve got a good distribution of sizes, so we’re excited about that,” Matteis said.

They have some new gold varieties that are increasing in production, and they hope to double their harvest from last year.

“Most of the new varieties globally are some type of gold, but there some other colors out there,” Matteis explained.

Red kiwi fruit and new varieties that look quite interesting are on the rise.

“We have one grower that’s testing some red, but it’s very early,” Matteis said.

There is also a new variety called the Megakiwi, which is exactly how it sounds.

Matteis also spoke with us about California Grown’s new social media outreach program called Farm 2 Fan. Farm 2 Fan offers a spotlight for farmers whose produce have plenty of fans.

“We are right in the middle of a promotional campaign that we execute in partnership with Visit California,” he said. “This is a video series and digital marketing campaign that introduces farmers producing different crops from all around the state of California.”

Californian kiwifruit industry forecasts good fruit quality

Source: Fresh Fruit Portal

The upcoming season looks as though it should be a relatively positive one for Californian kiwifruit growers, with normal production, good fruit quality, and strong domestic market conditions.

California Kiwifruit Administrative Committee assistant director Nick Matteis said that as of the board’s latest meeting in July, the industry was anticipating a production of around 6.8 – 7 million seven-pound tray equivalents.

“That’s about average, based on producing acreage and what our growers are able to get produced per acre. It’s about a normal size crop, and the distribution of sizes will be pretty normal as well,” Matteis told www.freshfruitportal.com.

“It’s not lopsided towards larger sizes necessarily nor smaller sizes – there should be a good variation in size profile. The quality looks to be good as well, though at this juncture of course we still have a month and a half of growing season left.”

The board of directors will hold another meeting in September to take one last look at the estimates and see if anything dramatic has occurred.

Matteis said although it didn’t sound like growers have had serious problems with the state-wide drought, he could not be sure due to the vast area they covered.

“It’s hard to generalize how people are going to be affected because we have growing regions closer to the northern area and some further to the south with a couple of hundred miles in between,” he said.

“Most folks are pumping groundwater because there’s zero allocation from the state and federal water resources departments.

“So I think everybody’s going to make it just fine this year – I guess I could summate – but there is some pretty significant groundwater pumping that’s going on now to keep flows where they need to be to get to harvest.”

He added demand looked like it would be strong going into the season, with the first harvest expected to take place around six or seven days earlier than last year.

“Probably at the end of September we’ll start seeing some of the first fruit harvested, but the harvest being in full swing is usually around the first or second week of October,” Matteis said.

“The actual harvest will go till the end of November and then the marketing season will run from October all the way to April.”

Generally around 70-75% of the fruit is sold to the North America market, with Canada and Mexico being the two biggest importers.