Swords characterized eating quality as good and said the season is bringing more medium sizes, which Swords said is more compatible with demand.
He said color was maturing and retailers should find adequate volume for promotions.
After navels finish harvesting in late December, a variety of midseason oranges help keep movement going until the late season valencias begin harvesting in late February and March.
Hamlins, pineapples and valencias are the juice oranges or the varieties consumers us to make fresh juice.
Hamlins run through early January and temples start in mid-January and harvest through mid-February.
Florida Classic’s Finch said the hamlins look strong and are producing sizes peaking on the 125s and 100s, making them suitable for 4-pound bag promotions.
Temples typically begin harvesting in January.
“We always have nice temples,” said Matt Reel, director of sales for IMG Citrus Inc., Vero Beach. “Though the variety has been around for a long time, the temples are good for retailers that want to do something different. They’re a good product retailers like to promote from mid-January through mid-February.”
Reel said temple demand went well last season.
Though it’s too early to discuss what this year’s valencia crop could bring, DLF’s Kiger said growers expect a favorable season.
Kiger said strong juice demand helps keep prices a little higher than in the past. Fresh shippers must often battle cannery buyers for fruit, he said.
IMG’s Reel said the juice oranges are seeing increased demand.
More shoppers and retailers are getting into fresh squeezing, he said.
In mid-November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for 4/5-bushel cartons of U.S. No. 1 Florida navels arriving in Boston: $19 for 40s, 48s, 56s, 64s and 80s.
Last year in early November, the USDA reported Florida navels in Boston selling at $22 for 36s, 40s, 48s and 80s; $20-21 for 56s and $20 for 64s.