WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Buyers should expect less availability of Florida tangerines for the rest of this winter.
This season’s crop is showing signs of damage from last season’s freezing temperatures.
A heavier on-tree set for Florida tangerines should produce smaller-sized fruit, shippers said.
Workers pack fallglo tangerines on the packing line at Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., Winter Haven, Fla.
Shippers are finding this season’s tangerine crop isn’t producing like usual, particularly the fall sunburst variety which follows the fallglos that end shipments in mid-October.
Doug Feek, president of DLF International Inc., Vero Beach, said last season’s cold weather affected bloom and has harmed tangerine production.
“The sunbursts just aren’t growing like they normally would grow,” he said in late October. “If you have a short crop, normally the sunbursts get big. But for some reason, they’re not. Not only do we have a short crop, now we have a shorter crop of small sizes, which makes it an even shorter crop.”
Though U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasters predicted higher later season honey tangerine volume, Vero Beach-based Seald Sweet International’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer David Mixon said such predictions may not yield fruit.
“Though the honeys have a larger fruit set on the tree, because they’re so small, it will be difficult to see if we actually get some of the fruit making enough size to even be packable because there’s so much fruit on the tree,” he said. “It may not be near the volume projected because it may not be packable due to undersized fruit.”
According to the USDA, 4/5 bushel cartons of Florida fallglo tangerines in Chicago in late October sold for $26 for 48s, $20-22 for 64s, $18-20 for 80s, $16-18 for 100s, $13-14 for 120s, $13 for 150s and $11 for 180s.
By way of comparison, the USDA last year reported 4/5 bushel cartons of Florida fallglo tangerines in Chicago in late October selling for $17-20.50 for 64s, $15.50-18.50 for 80s, $16 for 100s and $12-15 for 150s.
Dave Haller, vice president of sales and marketing for Greene River Marketing Inc., Vero Beach, said sunburst tangerines, which were set to begin pickings by early November, were on the smaller side in terms of sizings.
“But they should pick up some growth as they color up,” he said. “Once they color up, they usually have a growth spurt.”