Midseason reports reflect a busy citrus market - The Packer

Midseason reports reflect a busy citrus market

01/19/2012 05:13:00 PM
Jim Offner

“We have more fruit available for Europe and all markets, as a matter of fact,” said Richard Kinney, executive vice president.

“It’s kind of a typical kind of season — not poor, not exceptional.”

Size was an asset for Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DNE World Fruit Sales, said Kathy Hearl, marketing and promotions manager.

“This year, the fruit size has been much larger than the past few seasons,” she said.

“We also have very high brix levels — a month ahead on maturity, versus last year.”

She said any damage from cold weather was little more than spotty.

“Not our best-looking crop this year, but certainly one of the sweetest we’ve had,” she said.

Volume on honey tangerines is larger this season than last, with larger fruit, Hearl said, adding the season will run through mid-April.

The Florida navel season was “great” and “fruit was early and very sweet,” Hearl said.

The grapefruit crop in Texas is down slightly from a year ago, said John McClung, president of the Texas Produce Association, Mission.

“We’re looking at a crop this year that’s down somewhat than years past, due to freezes last winter,” McClung said.

“It was enough to cut the crop about 20%. Frankly, sometimes the supplies are down but the prices are up.”

Drought has plagued Texas, said Dennis Holbrook, president of South Tex Organics LC, Mission.

Irrigation compensated, though, he said.

Texas’ citrus crop is about three-quarters grapefruit, McClung said.

“If we can get the grapefruit off the tree, we have a good market because we have a reputation for having the best grapefruit,” he said.

“We’re pretty comfortable with that arrangement. There’s no reason to think we won’t have that in the years ahead.”

Texas’ season got under way on time in October and should wind up in May, he added.

“It was a very hot summer and extremely dry, so the trees kind of get in survival mode,” said Mike Martin, president of grapefruit grower-shipper Rio Queen Inc., Mission.

“The fruit suffered somewhat and I think that affected the yield. And we also had very cold temperatures a couple of mornings in early February, and I think that affected the bloom.

“It was three things that came together to produce this reduced crop, after a bigger crop last year.”

California growers have seen dry conditions and cold nights, but the fruit has come through in good shape, growers said.

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