Tom BurfieldLONG BEACH, Calif. — The summer’s first shipment of Australian navel oranges has arrived, and supplies should gradually ramp up until peak volume is reached in mid-August, said Stu Monaghan, national sales manager for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., exclusive importer of Australian citrus to the U.S.
Monaghan expects 600,000 to 1 million cartons of navel oranges to hit U.S. supermarkets this season, along with 100,000 cartons of minneolas and 60,000 cartons of daisy tangerines.
Navel volume is down a bit from last year, but supplies of minneolas and daisy tangerines should be about the same.
A lot of navels are on the trees this season, which means sizing will be smaller than normal, Monaghan said. The deal kicked off three weeks later than usual to give growers time to let the fruit size up.
The delay will push the Australian navels into the heaviest part of the Chilean deal the third week of August through the end of September, and that likely will result in downward price pressure, Monaghan said.
Quality of the early navels was looking good, he said, with good internal maturity, high color and a clean peel.
“We’re very much looking forward to what we get here and showing off what Australia can do,” Monaghan said.
Early reports also show “very high-color, clean-looking fruit with slick peels and high brix” for the minneolas and daisy tangerines, he said.
All the citrus items enjoyed good growing conditions this season.
“They had a cool summer and a mild winter so far, so conditions have been very, very easy-going on the fruit,” Monaghan said.
The Australian navel deal should continue through the third week of October.
(RELATED NEWS: Cold snap in Chile puts summer citrus outlook in question.)