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Bakers and snack manufacturers using cherries, raspberries, blackberries, prune or raisins in their recipes likely won’t be facing shortages of these ingredients this year, according to spokespeople for growers of these superfruits.
While it’s very early to predict [in April], the Pacific Northwest sweet cherry crop looks very good at this point in time. We are experiencing next to ideal weather during our bloom period, and the bees are busy pollinating. The Michigan sweet and tart cherry crop projection is an unknown, and the industry is anxious to determine the impact of the extreme arctic vortex winter weather conditions on the 2014 crop. However, overall, the Oregon Cherry Growers anticipates sufficient cherries to meet market demand. – Steve Kollas, vice president of technical services, OCG, Salem, Ore.
The outlook is quite favorable for the Oregon raspberry and blackberry crop in 2014. With a wide range of blackberry cultivars available, wholesale users will have a good choice of availability in a wide variety of pack types. – Cat McKenzie, marketing director, Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission. Blodgett
The 2013 crop (harvested in August 2013) was 38% smaller in total volume (86,000 tons) than the 2012 and 2011 [crops], but the quality and sizing was very good, with medium to large prunes dominating the crop. While weather and drought have been challenging during the period leading up to the critical 2014 bloom last month, we expect a larger crop than last year will develop. Overall, the global supply of prunes is tight, but California will continue its commitment to be the premium supplier for value-added applications. – Donn Zea, executive director, California Dried Plum Board, Sacramento
We are currently producing about 700 million lb. of raisins on about 200,000 acres of land in the San Joaquin Valley. Of that 700 million lb. total, approximately 60% is consumed within the U.S., and the remainder goes to export. Our 2013 crop was of excellent quality and larger than expected. Very early indications for the 2014 crop are that it will be a bit smaller than last year, but surely adequate for customers’ needs. – Larry Blagg, senior vice president of marketing, California Raisin Marketing Board, Fresno
To learn whether these fruits and other perennial consumers favorites are holding their own against exotic superfruits, such as dragon fruit, goji berries and mangosteen, read “Fruit for all” in the May 2014 issue of Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery or click here.