Finch said Dundee plans to finish juice orange harvesting in February as the late season valencias, Dundee’s largest variety, begin harvesting in late February.
Finch said last season went well on the valencias. He said demand was high and said growers harvested excellent eating quality fruit.
Dundee plans to harvest through late May and ship valencias from Dundee’s cold storage program through July.
Dave Brocksmith, Florida program manager for Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, said the season was bringing average exterior quality on navels.
He said the smaller volume should bring growers higher prices.
“Last season went well for growers, but there wasn’t a lot of promotable volume because processors were in the marketplace buying everything they could get their hands on and paying big money for it, which kept prices very high on the fresh end and made it a little tougher to promote because of lack of supply and high price,” Brocksmith 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 in Boston: $22 for 36s, 40s, 48s and 80s; $20-21 for 56s; and $20 for 64s.
Last year in mid-November, the USDA reported those same cartons of navels in Boston selling for $20 for 40s; $20-21 for 48s, 56s, 64s and 80s; and $16 for 125s.
Doug Feek, president of DLF International Inc., Vero Beach, said this year’s navel season started strong.
“The early season was good,” he said in late October. “The rains we had in early October slowed us a bit and created some challenges for the industry. But the first navels did well. They’re pretty clean. The overall crop is down but the quality is up.”
Navel packouts are strong, said Matt McLean, chief executive officer and founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic Inc., Clermont.
“The navels don’t appear to have near the size problems,” he said in late October. “Last season, they were much larger. Now they’re more uniform which is good for bags and bulk, not just one of the other. Last year, navels skewed to the larger bulk sizes. There’s a better size range this season.”
McLean said adequate summer rain in central Florida help produce quality navels.
On valencias, Quentin Roe, president of Noble World Wide, Winter Haven, said last season was favorable.
“Last year went really well,” Roe said. “We had a good quality valencia. We marketed valencias to the middle of July with a little coming off the fresh run.”
Noble plans to begin Valencia harvesting in early March and run through late June.