Importers of Chilean clementines report an uptick in late-season murcotts.
After its regular Chilean clementine deal winds down about the end of July, Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group will begin bringing in late-season murcotts from Chile, said James Milne, the company’s citrus category director.
“In August there will be a small gap between regular clementines and murcotts,” Milne said.
While there could be a 25% to 30% volume drop in regular Chilean clementines because of severe September freezes, Chilean murcott imports could actually be up for Oppy this year.
“Because of the freezes, it’s not as high as everybody anticipated, but it could be up 20%,” Milne said.
“Acreage is up, there are new plantings. We’re seeing healthy growth.”
Murcotts are the beneficiaries of good timing, Milne said. There’s less competition at their season’s peak, and a captive audience of young consumers awaits them around the end of August.
DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., expects to ship Chilean murcotts in September and October, said Matt Gordon, Chilean program manager.
Despite taking a hit from Mother Nature, DNE expects a boost in murcott volumes this season.
“I believe the freeze hit the bloom on some of the murcotts,” he said.
“Overall murcott volume from Chile should be up as compared to last year with new plantings reaching commercial production.”
Last season, murcotts approached clementines in total volumes shipped to North America, and 2014 should be a similarly strong year for the late-season variety, said Peter Anderson, imported citrus category manager for Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International.
About 1.95 million 15-kilogram boxes of clementines and 1.92 million boxes of murcotts shipped from Chile to North America industry-wide, Anderson said.
As for this year?
“We expect the figure for clementines to be lower while murcotts, because of new production, (are expected) to be up by 10% to 15%,” he said.