Wonderful pomegranate

California pomegranate growers have confirmed that the popular Wonderful variety has now achieved the deep red colour and high sugar content that indicates maturity.

Tom Rouse of PomWonderful said that growers have been patiently waiting for the Wonderful variety to reach maturity.

“We expect promotable quantities in a full range of sizes, by 8-10 October,' he explained. 'If Mother Nature continues to cooperate, our full-season shipments should match, or slightly exceed last year.

'We anticipate again setting a new record in the percentage of the total that goes out in our increasingly popular display bins and stackers,' he added. 'Retailers recognise the high-impulse purchase nature of pomegranates and these stand-alone units bring incremental profit to previously unused space in the produce section or by the front-end registers.”

Jeff Simonian noted that they would be starting their Wonderful programme at the same time: “Our early varieties have moved smoothly into the distribution channels and we are now ready to ship our principal variety. Like the rest of the industry, we expect to peak on the medium sizes.

The Pomegranate Council reports that a census of the principal growers suggests that industry shipments should again exceed 6m boxes this season.

Tom Tjerandsen, manager of the Council, said: “There are still some low-index consumption markets in the US and as shoppers discover the great taste and substantial nutritional benefits of pomegranates, there will be no problem absorbing the increasing annual volume. Surging export and foodservice demand, along with sales of the increasingly popular arils and juice products, are also helping to move the harvest.”