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California grapes reach milestone surpassing 100 million boxes shipped

California shipped a record 101.5 million boxes (100.1 million 19-pound box equivalents) of fresh California grapes during the 2012 season.  

The 2012 season started with shipments in early May and continued through January 2013. California produces 99 percent of the commercial fresh grapes grown in the United Sates.  

"Grapes from California are a popular choice in the U.S. and around the world," Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, based in Fresno, said in a press release.

In the United States, research shows that 99 percent of primary grocery shoppers prefer California grapes to imports. California preference is also seen in many export markets. In 2012, 41 percent of the crop was exported.

"We constantly seek new and interesting ways to remind people of the benefits of eating grapes from California and to motivate increased purchase," Ms. Nave added in the press release.

The 2013 California table grape season is two months away with retail, consumer and foodservice campaigns planned to kick off in May.  

California grape volume has significantly increased from just over 20 million boxes in 1971 to 50 million in 1982, 60 million in 1988, 70 million in 1995 and 90 million boxes in 1997. Shipments approached 100 million boxes in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and broke through in 2012.