Marketing of the new 2019 California walnut crop has started in earnest over recent weeks. Many California walnut packers are still not yet offering and are opting to receive some of the crop before doing so. In view of very strong shipments last year, the industry anticipates strong demand for in-shell and shelled California walnuts in the coming year. Accordingly, suppliers will be in no rush to unload their new crop, unlike last year when trade-related anxieties motivated a flurry of early and active selling, sometimes at ever lower prices. This year, California in-shell walnut prices are opening above last year and sellers appear more patient and confident in the marketplace even though tariff issues remain at play.
The estimate from the California walnut handlers meeting put the new crop size at 691K tons which would be an increase from last year. The California crop is developing nicely with nuts sizing larger than last year according to some reports. Due to cooler temperatures, the crop development is a bit behind so expectations are for a slightly delayed harvest. Overall, quality expectations are strong at this time. The Objective Estimate, which should be published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the USDA at the end of August will add further clarity as to the size of the new 2019 California walnut crop.
We are already seeing strong demand from Turkey and the U.A.E., among others, for the first shipments of in-shell Chandler. Chile’s crop last year disappointed some expectations in terms of size and as a result, many in-shell buyers have a backlog of demand. Space on the first vessels to Mersin and Jebel Ali will fill up quickly. Expect first available shipments in the first half of October, depending on harvest timing. Over the next few weeks, we will be actively moving California in-shell walnuts -- particularly Chandler -- and welcome your inquiries.
We work with California walnut packers to supply our customers with Jumbo and Jumbo / Large (J/L) in-shell Chandler, Howard, Hartley, Vina, Tulare, Serr and other varieties. We also provide bleached in-shell walnuts in addition to California shelled product including Chandler and non-Chandler Light Halves & Pieces (LHP) 20%, 40%, 80% and higher based on customer requirements. We also supply Combo Halves and Pieces (CHP) and Light Sorted Pieces (LSP).
California raisin prices continued to decline in recent weeks. The value proposition of California raisins -- with high quality at lower price levels -- may begin to attract buyers. However, we cannot be sure when and how much unmet demand exists in the market given that so many customers covered early with Turkish, Chilean, and South African raisins. Perhaps these new price levels will interest European buyers and others who have remained on the sidelines.
Today, California packers are eager to move tonnage and long-term volume contracts are being discussed in order to lock in customers at very competitive price levels. The Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) is meeting later this month. Depending on the outcome of the meeting, we may have access to shipment reports which will help us get a sense for the pace of shipments in June and July. Based on our observations and estimates, shipments remain very weak.
We supply all major bulk California raisins including dried-on-the-vine (DOV) and tray-dried Natural Thompson Seedless Selects, Selma Petes, Flames, Goldens, and other varieties in Jumbo, Select, and Midget sizes and welcome your inquiries. We also supply Selma Pete DOV Double-Run Supreme raisins to Japan and elsewhere which are processed twice to achieve exceptionally low stem and capstem counts. We offer multiple packaging options including custom boxes with client branding, supplier branded boxes, and blank unbranded boxes.
The California almond industry is currently in a very tight transition to new crop. Many packers have withdrawn from the market in order to reassess their market positions after the Objective Estimate for the 2019 almond crop of 2.2 billion pounds came as a shock to the industry. With a smaller crop expected, prices rose and now suppliers are re-entering the market to continue marketing the new almond crop, albeit tentatively since many would like to wait to assess receipts directly before marketing their crop more aggressively.
Our most popular almond varieties are Nonpareil, Independence, Butte/Padre, and Carmel types with the most popular grades of Supreme, Extra, Standard 5%, and more.
Availability on Whole Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDC) continues to be challenged. There is a meeting of the Cranberry Marketing Committee in August which should provide further information on what to expect going forward in the markets for SDCs.
We supply Conventional and Organic Whole or Sliced Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) packed in bulk cases as well as Organic Apple Juice Sweetened varieties. We also work with quarter inch diced and other diced cranberry products available as per client requirement. In addition, we supply 50 Brix and 65 Brix cranberry concentrate shipped in bulk 55 gallon drums.