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Crown Jewels anticipates grape volume increase of about 20 percent

Crown Jewels Produce Co. in Fresno, CA, expects an increase of about 20 percent in its table grape volume out of the San Joaquin Valley of California during the 2013 season, according to Atomic Torosian, a partner in the company.

“We are up in our production this year” as a result of additional acreage coming into the program, Torosian said. Some of that additional acreage is on the company’s own ranch. “Crown Jewels is a grower of grapes” as well as a shipper.

He expects a total volume of around 1.2 million to 1.3 million packages out of California this year.

007-CalGrapes-CrownJ-AtomicAtomic TorosianThe company’s San Joaquin Valley production is part of a year-round grape program, which includes grapes also from Peru, Chile and Mexico.

“We started packing our first grapes out of California on June 25” this year, Torosian said in early July. The season started with Flames.

“We’re starting our third week of grapes out of California, so everything is more on the early side this year with Flames and Summer Royals and Sugraones. I would say we are at least 10 days earlier than last year.”

Quality has been good, he added.

“So far, I like what I see. We have good size on both our Flames and Summer Royal blacks this year, and the reception has been very, very good.” Quality should continue to be good “if we don’t have a lot of heat damage,” he said.

Upcoming varieties for the company include Luisco, Sugraone, Autumn Royal, Autumn King, Scarlet Royal and Sweet Crimson, as well as “a new red seedless coming on line this year called Chrissy. We’ll be packing those in about 10 days,” Torosian commented.

Overall, summer is “a busy time of year for us,” he said. In addition to “all of the varieties” of grapes, “we are packing cantaloupes and honeydews. We have started Bartlett pears and red pears.”

Apples will start probably the end of July and pomegranates in early August.

Crown Jewels’ California grape program will finish around early December and then the company will go back down into Peru and then to Chile, followed by a spring program out of Sonora, Mexico, Torosian said.

“We are pretty much 12 months a year,” he said. “You have to be, to be in this business.