We are past full bloom in all the northwest orchards. The very earliest orchards are at pit hardening and latest orchards at petal fall. We have nice variability in maturity, which will spread our harvest and make it more manageable for operations. It looks like an average crop. We have very heavy sets while at the same time some very poor sets. The self-fertile varieties have good sets. The varieties that require cross pollination are generally lighter; this happens when we have poor weather conditions for bee flight.
As this short crop continues to mature, growers are trying to figure out how best to pick the fruit. The worry is trying to keep the green and/or overripe fruit out of the bins. It will be hard to control labor with so little fruit on trees to pick. Mixed maturity will also be a major problem during harvest. Some growers think they are going to need to pay by the hour, but feel pickers will not show up if that is the case. Anticipated start date should be around the second week of June.
Organic Tomatoes: Plants are maturing nicely. In early plantings, we are starting see pea sized tomatoes with some regularity.
Pear Tomatoes: Crop continues to grow as expected and plants are looking very good.
Conventional Tomatoes: We should be completed with plantings this week. Early and mid-season plantings are progressing as expected and looking good.
Growing conditions have been ideal and the timing looks to be only two days later than last year. Plenty of things can happen before harvest, but given the current conditions, we should have no problem reaching our required tonnage.
River and Linden Districts: Growers are concerned that the crop continues to get lighter. Fruit size varies and the smaller fruits continue to abort. The largest fruits are almost 1.3”-1.5”.
Mendocino and Lake Districts: A grower in Mendocino is struggling with his crop. He believes that he only has 50% of a crop on his tree. Other growers in Mendocino are more optimistic. The crop in Lake County looks good.
Kingsburg: Growers continue to thin their orchards while trees are still dropping fruit. The crop looks clean at this time and fruit is progressing nicely.
Modesto: Pit hardening for the Modesto area was called on May 4th. That makes the Reference Date May 14th, which is two days later than last year. Growers are being cautious with their thinning since there is still a significate amount of natural sluffing taking place. Peach size looks good and could be an indication of the lighter set.
Yuba City: The California Canning Peach Association called pit hardening on May 10th for the Northern District. The CCPA has set the reference date as May 20th; that is two days later than last year. CCPA will begin to measure fruit on May 21st. Growers are thinning and irrigating their orchards. Weather has been wonderful and ideal for peach growth.
This year the pineapple production estimates are at the bottom end of the range considered to be healthy or normal; it is projected to be 1,800,000 – 1,900,000 metric tons. The final revised total for 2017 was 1,882,283 metric tons.
Lodi, CA Weather