The U.S. winter citrus season has crossed the halfway mark with plentiful supplies and no quality issues, according to marketing agents.
“We’ve been packing navels and tangerines since around Sept. 11 and just finished our sunburst tangerine variety,” said Al Finch, vice president of sales and marketing for Lake Hamilton, Fla.-based Florida Classic Growers Inc.
“We had an excellent year on them, with sizing that was little larger than the previous season. We just started our honey tangerines, and they’ll be available through April. Sizing on those will be a little smaller than the sunburst, but the crop size will be a little larger.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as of Jan. 17, 7/10-bushel cartons of size 48-56 navels shippers first grade from central and southern California and Arizona were $15.73-16.75.
In lemons, 7/10-bushel cartons of first grade 165s from California were $19.73-21.75.
“Lemon consumption continues to increase slowly, both domestically and internationally, as foodservice continues to make a comeback and more nutritional messages are getting out regarding lemons,” said Alex Teague, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Santa Paula, Calif.-based Limoneira Co.
“Pricing continues to adjust to new increased volume from Mexico and Chile. However, with increasing consumption, the marketplace appears to be absorbing it with minimal interruption.”
Forty-pound cartons of seedless, size 110 limes from Mexico were $12-14.
Seven-tenth bushel cartons of marked Rio Star Texas fancy grapefruit, in size 36, were $10-11.35.
Florida Classic Growers finished its navel crop in early January, Finch said.
“The crop size was a little larger than last season,” he said.
“We had good promotional activity on the 4-pound bags in navels, as well as the 3-pound bags in sunburst tangerines. We had very good ad activity.”
Grapefruit sized up a little larger this year and good promotional volume should be available through February, Finch said.
“Many retailers are running grapefruit promotions for bagged grapefruit, 5-pound bags, for January and February,” Finch said.
“Grapefruit typically ties in with New Year’s resolutions and weight loss. With all the New Year’s resolutions and promises, people are starting their diets, and many retailers are featuring grapefruits in January and February.”
Florida Citrus Packers Inc., Lakeland, reports exceptional fruit quality.