Second season for maturity standard
2012 marked the first season for the new California navel maturity standard, which was developed to better represent consumer eating experiences with early-season fruit.
The previous standard was based solely on a sugar-to-acid ratio, whereas the new standard also incorporates other flavor components.
The standard will be in place again this season without any changes, said Joel Nelsen, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual.
“We think it went very well, and the demand for the product early on was better than it had been in the past,” Nelsen said of last year. “We didn’t get any push-back from the shippers and growers. From an operational standpoint, it seemed to work smoothly.”
When Citrus Mutual initially proposed the new standard, the grower group said it would remain in place for three years, after which time it would be evaluated.
The 2013-14 season will be its second.
“Given all of the heat we’re experiencing, I don’t anticipate any sugar-acid problems,” Nelsen said in late July. “The problem we’re having with as much heat as we’re seeing is the trees kind of shut down, and the fruit doesn’t grow as rapidly in hot weather. That’s a concern.”