Navel quality far from annoying

12/07/2012 09:40:00 AM
Andy Nelson

It’s a textbook case of great quality raising all boats, with none of the dreaded intra-commodity cannibalization growers talk about.

A shipper I talked to recently, Neil Galone, vice president of sales and marketing for Orange Cove, Calif.-based Booth Ranches LLC, gives a lot of credit to the California Standard, a new maturity standard that required growers to wait to pick until navels reach optimum flavor.

Rather than relying on the simple sugar-acid ratio that has long been the industry benchmark, the California Standard uses a more complicated formula to come up with a new flavor rating. Anything under 90 on the new scale doesn’t make the grade.

“Some years when we’ve started, we’ve had some marginal fruit,” he said. “This year, the quality has been very good from the beginning.”

Based on the oranges I’ve had this season, I’m buying it. And I plan on telling my sons I’ll take a Delicious Orange over an Annoying Orange any day.

anelson@thepacker.com

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