Little grapefruit is grown for process markets, as a majority of groves are harvested to ship fresh, Kastensmidt 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, said the season has opened positively.
“There is more excitement in the air for starting this year’s Florida citrus than in years past,” he said. “Demand for navels and tangerines has been extremely strong, due to high imported citrus costs.”
One of the state’s largest packers, Diversified expects to ship 3.2 million cartons of oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and tangelos, slightly more than what it shipped last season.
Quentin Roe, president of Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., Winter Haven, said the growing season has gone well.
“By and large, we have had a good growing season,” he said. “We will have a pretty good crop of fruit this year.”
Generally, it takes a year for the groves to recover from a significant freeze like the freezing weather that struck the state in January and February. Roe said he expects the groves to return to a strong cycle next season.
Roe began picking and packing its fallglo tangerines in mid-September.
About 11% of Florida's total citrus typically goes fresh. Four percent of its oranges, 41% of its grapefruit and 57% of its tangerines ship fresh.