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Grape crop grows in 2010

POSTED March 4, 2011 10:56 p.m.

The California Table Grape Commission reported Thursday that in 2010 the industry shipped 98.3 million boxes (about 20-pound boxes) of fresh grapes from California.

In 2009 grape growers shipped 91.7 million boxes. The sharp increase was driven by strong demand in foreign markets, as 37.4 million boxes were exported to more than 62 countries around the world. “Expanding markets and maintaining strong demand in the U.S. and in export markets has been vital to this industry’s ability to survive and even grow despite the challenges that farmers everywhere in the U.S. face,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission.

According to the Stanislaus County Agriculture Commissioner’s crop report, grapes were the third largest crop by volume in the county. Sales of all grapes increased in 2009 to more than $43 million from $37 million in 2008.

According to Nave, 99 percent of shoppers in the U.S. prefer grapes from California over other grapes.

California’s fresh grape season begins each year in May and runs through January. Last season, 45 percent of the volume was shipped between October and December. The top variety by volume was Crimson Seedless, with 19.3 million boxes, followed by Flame Seedless, Red Globe and Thompson Seedless.

“With increased volume from new plantings, we expect that the industry will top 100 million boxes in the near future,” said Nave. “With consumers all over the world increasingly interested in healthy eating, grapes from California are well positioned as both a flavorful and healthy choice.”          

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail jmccorkell@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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