Organic citrus remains a niche market

01/25/2010 11:46:00 AM
Bob Luder

Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., sells organic oranges, lemons and satsumas.

“It’s growing slowly,” said Claire Smith, corporate communications director for Sunkist. “There’s not a huge business, but we have new customers coming on board all the time. Most big retailers are into organics now. We’re selling it in all of our markets now.”

However, as one citrus grower in Mesa, Ariz., pointed out, a certain pesky pest recently has shown up in California as well as other citrus-producing regions around the country.

“With the Asian psyllid … what’s that going to do to the organic business?” asked Bill Faysak, manager of the Mesa Citrus Growers Association. “You have to use pesticides. Hopefully, consumers are wising up to the fact that, if it’s a packed piece of fruit, organic is not a huge issue.”


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