Like many other commodities this year, the California fig season will likely see a later start. “We have the first Black Mission fig crop and that typically starts June 5-6. This year though it’s looking more like June 12-15,” says Erik Herman of The Specialty Crop Co.
That said, fruit sizing and quality are strong given the good growing season that has seen ample rain and cooler weather. “The trees are really happy and really green and growing well. On the first crop, the crop size is a little bit smaller than normal but overall the size and fruit quality look fantastic,” says Herman.
The second crop of Brown Turkey figs will start in the middle of July and that crop is developing well too. “We haven’t been battling the heat that we have in the past four years and it looks really promising. That said, the heat is starting to roll in so we’ll see what happens. However we’re really optimistic,” he says.
Transitioning from Mexico
While the first crop typically finishes harvest before the 4th of July, this year the Black Mission fig harvest will run well past that date. Given Brown Turkey fig production starts on July 12th, that means there may not be as big a gap this year between that first crop and the main crop. Meanwhile, Mexico, which is currently harvesting, is rapidly slowing down its production and that means there could be a few week gap with the later start on the first crop.
As for demand, Herman believes it will be good for both crops. “Figs used to be niche and they’re everywhere now so I think there will be really good demand,” he says. “August is a great time with promotable volume and there should be a home for all of our figs.” Last year the season ran until early October though if the summer is milder this year, that could extend into November even.
On pricing, Herman believes it will be pretty steady and fairly similar to last year.
Meanwhile, The Specialty Crop Co. itself also continues to plant more fig trees to meet growing demand. “In the past couple of years, we’ve planted a few hundred more acres. We’re also constantly converting more to organic because everyone wants organic,” he says.
For more information:
The Specialty Crop Co.
Tel: +1 (559) 661-8253