“We’re working on programs to have the fruit more available in the midwestern regions,” he said. “The western regions are a challenge — not an insurmountable one, but certainly one which merits careful consideration.”
South African citrus programs will expand in the western U.S. only, van der Merwe said, when the industry can be assured that the extra distance and time required doesn’t compromise the fruit’s freshness and quality.
“We will not do it with compromised quality,” he said.
Like Seald Sweet, Montreal-based Fisher Capespan will focus on the East Coast and Midwest this season for distribution of South African citrus crops, said Marc Solomon, senior vice president for South African procurement.
At the same time, the company is by no means ignoring the western U.S.
“We do have demand in the Southwest and even on the West Coast,” Solomon said. “And we’ve developed, over a number of years, an efficient means of servicing those more western markets.”