There are some concerns, however, about melanose, a cosmetic disease that doesn’t affect fruit quality. Miller and other grower-shippers say the disease shouldn’t be an issue this season.
“So far, weather has been too hot, and rain has been limited,” Miller said in late October. “Now that California and Texas are open to Florida, we look forward to reconnecting with our customers.”
Premier began its grapefruit shipments in mid-October, about three weeks later than last year’s start, which was abnormally early, Miller said.
Central Florida, which grows a considerably smaller volume of grapefruit, has seen a tougher year on the fruit, said Al Finch, vice president of sales and marketing for Diversified Citrus Marketing, the Lake Hamilton-based sales agency that markets for Dundee Citrus Growers Association, Dundee.
“Grapefruit has been a fight,” he said in late October. “We have had some problems with maturity in getting fruit passed. This has been one of the latest starts on grapefruit that we have seen. Demand is starting to pick up and maturities haven’t been there to get started.”
Dundee’s growers began harvesting in late October. Sizes were peaking on 48s and 56s, Finch said.