Florida citrus gets started a little early

11/16/2012 09:32:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Doug Feek, president of DLF International Inc., said growers began harvesting earlier than normal this year, the second week of September versus the typical mid- to late September start.

“We are seeing really good demand on the small fruit this year,” Feek said. “The overall navel crop is down but the quality is up. We, however, have a little more than we had last year and are up 20% on the navels. The brix is high this year, and the taste is really good.”

While honey tangerines normally start in early January because of an earlier-than-expected season start for all Florida citrus, honey tangerines may also finish earlier than normal, said Quentin Roe, president of Noble World Wide, the sales division of Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., Winter Haven.

Typically, honey tangerines end in April, but this season they may finish by late March, Roe said.

Buyers should expect a strong honey tangerine crop, he said.

“Honeys will be a nice, quality crop,” Roe said. “They look to be a very clean crop, and the sizing is ahead of normal. We have a lot of expectations for the honey crop being a very good crop.”

Roe said honey tangerine sizings are on the larger end of the continuum in a decade of sizing records.

On organic oranges, the season started about two weeks earlier than normal, the earliest ever for Clermont-based Uncle Matt’s Organic Inc., said Matt McLean, chief executive officer.

“Retailers should expect a very good, uniform crop with good quality,” McLean said. “We should have a good supply from start to finish. Supply is uniform to a little above average.”


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