BLOOM FRESH Technical Team Helps Growers Worldwide Prepare for Table Grape Harvest During El Niño 2023 

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – BLOOM FRESH™, the world’s largest premium fruit-breeding company specializing in table grapes, cherries, and raisins, is taking proactive measures to safeguard table grape production as El Niño threatens vineyards across the globe. El Niño’s effects vary, bringing extreme heat to some regions while inundating others with heavy rainfall, making it essential to adapt growing tactics accordingly.

“El Niño demands a global strategy to protect table grape crops,” said Dr. Pietro Scafidi, Global R&D Manager at BLOOM. “Given its diverse impacts on different countries, our mission is to leverage our two decades of expertise and research to assist growers in safeguarding their crops, ultimately yielding top-quality, robust, and delicious table grapes.”

BLOOM’s dedicated technical team for table grapes routinely dispatches experts to the 24 countries where the company’s table grapes flourish. On-site, they collaborate with licensed growers, sharing invaluable knowledge tailored to each region’s specific requirements.

Extreme Heat and Heavy Rainfall Demand Distinct Approaches During El Niño

In areas experiencing extreme heat due to El Niño, growers face heightened challenges in irrigation due to increased evapotranspiration rates. This combined process involves water evaporating from the ground and transpiring from plants, necessitating greater water inputs to maintain vine health. Techniques like netting to reduce water consumption become vital.

Dr. Scafidi highlights the resilience of certain table grape varietals, such as Sweet Globe™, Candy Snaps™, Candy Dreams™, and Candy Hearts™, which have thrived in desert conditions in the California Central Valley. These successes offer assurance that consumers and retailers will continue to access hardy and tasty table grapes. Conversely, varietals like Sweet Celebration™, Candy Crunch™, Rugby™, and IFG Forty-six have exhibited remarkable resistance to splits and decay, even under high rainfall pressures near harvest. For regions anticipating intense rainfall, the strategic use of plastic covers can shield crops effectively. Dr. Scafidi emphasizes the importance of proper installation during the rainy season, including row planting distances and the height of the plastic above the canopy, as key factors for success.

Harnessing Data for Informed Decision-Making

As BLOOM faces climatic challenges head-on, decades of data collection are proving invaluable. Summarized and consolidated, this wealth of information informs critical strategies for growing top-quality fruit and crops during adverse conditions.

In 2019, BLOOM launched a digital transformation initiative, integrating critical data into a unified system. This enhanced system enables the BLOOM technical team to offer more precise recommendations and informed decisions, benefiting both existing fruit varieties and licensees. Such capabilities prove particularly valuable during challenging times, whether related to weather or other geopolitical factors affecting the farm-to-table process. “Our primary objective is to bolster the success of our licensees,” said Dr. Scafidi. “The automation of BLOOM’s systems and data collection methods delivers a multitude of advantages. The technical team’s expertise is shared throughout the supply chain, benefiting every stage from the field to harvest, packaging, and sales.”