California citrus crops escape freeze damage

01/25/2013 10:48:00 AM
Cynthia David

“We’re excited about the growth we’re experiencing,” said Edinburgh salesman Jeff Husfeld.

In Florida, meanwhile, acreage is down and growers continue to battle disease and the weather, which has been hotter and drier than normal.

“We desperately need cooler weather to color up our honey tangerines,” said Al Finch, vice president of sales and marketing for Florida Classic Growers, Lake Hamilton, Fla., the marketing arm of the Dundee Citrus Growers Association.

“It has slowed our movement down tremendously,” he said in mid-January.

The lack of rainfall has led to smaller-sized red grapefruit, Finch said.

“We’re peaking on size 56, 48 and 40, but there’s good volume available for 5-pound bags,” he said.

Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International is also offering good deals on 5-pound bags of smaller red grapefruit, said Florida citrus manager Dave Brocksmith.

Brocksmith expected the pent-up demand for Florida tangerines to ease by the end of January, and said midseason oranges are reaching maturity,

“Because we don’t have the competitive pressures we had last year from the processors, we have a lot of good oranges this year for fresh pack and we’re doing a lot of 4-pound bag programs with our retail customers,” he said.


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