Florida producing highquality tangerines, supply gap concerning

11/16/2012 10:15:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

Matt Reel, director of sales, said the season is bringing slightly smaller fruit.

While sunbursts typically peak on the 120s, with ample volumes of 100s, this year harvest is bringing 120s and 150s, he said.

“The sunbursts are very good this year,” Reel said. “Typically, we won’t start until the first week of November. We started on Oct. 23, a good week ahead of schedule.”

In late October, Doug Feek, president of DLF International Inc., said tangerines were peaking on the small sizes, 120-150s.

“That means it’s a good time to promote bags,” Feek said. “Demand has been really good on the tangerines, even the fallglos.”



In mid-November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 4/5-bushel cartons of U.S. No. 1 Florida sunburst tangerines in Chicago selling for $28-29 for 64s and 80s; $25.50-26 for 100s; and $24.50 for 120s and 150s.

In mid-November last year, the USDA reported 4/5-bushel cartons of U.S. No. 1 Florida sunburst tangerines in Chicago selling for $28-30 for 80s; $22-24 for 100s, $20-22 for 120s; $18-20 for 150s; $16-18 for 176s; and $16-16.50 for 180s. According to the USDA, cartons 12 3-pound film bags of Florida U.S. No. 1 sunburst 120s fetched $18-20.

In late October, the Dundee Citrus Growers Association was transitioning to the sunbursts.

“Sunburst quality is excellent,” said Al Finch, vice president of sales and marketing for the Dundee-based Florida Classic Growers, Dundee’s marketing arm. “We anticipate having another fantastic year on the sunbursts.”

Finch said last year went well and he expects a smooth transition from the sunbursts to the honey tangerines in late December and early January.

Matt McLean, chief executive officer and founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic Inc., Clermont, called this season an alternate-bearing year, one which sees rebounding production following a lower-producing 2011-12 season.

“We have a good crop of tangerines,” McLean said in late October. “We will be able to hopefully fill our pipelines and our windows and not have any gaps.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to transition from one to the next because you run out of one variety before the other’s ready to start. It should be easy to go from one variety to the next.”

Thanks to a uniform bloom, McLean said the crop possesses a strong, uniform size.

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