The first loads of clementines and navel oranges from South Africa arrived in Philadelphia on June 26, and shippers expect shipments to exceed those from 2011.
The refrigerated vessel Iberian Reefer was loaded with 2,621 pallets of citrus: 1,096 clementines and 1,525 navel oranges, according to a news release from the Citrusdal, South Africa-based Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum.
“Clementines comprise the larger percentage of early season shipments, followed by navel, cara cara, and midknight oranges,” said Suhanra Conradie, chief executive officer of the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, adding that “a small quantity of star ruby grapefruit also will ship to the U.S.”
Vessels transporting citrus are scheduled to arrive in the U.S. every 10-12 days through October, and shippers predict around 46,000 tons will reach the U.S. this season (compared to more than 41,000 tons in 2011), according to the release.
The ship’s arrival marks the 13th season of shipments of South African summer citrus to the U.S.
Planned marketing initiatives for South African citrus include increased of in-store promotions with grower visits and an expanded tie-in with U.S. Youth Soccer, including the first Summer Citrus Soccer Star Award to be presented to eight players.
George Monyemangene, South African consul general to the U.S., was scheduled to join citrus growers June 29 at the U.S. Youth Soccer Northeast Regional Playoffs in Lancaster, Pa., with more than 6,000 soccer players, spectators and fans, according to the release.
In conjunction with the tournaments, South African citrus growers will meet with consumers at in-store demonstrations at various grocery stores.