Early South African navels will lean toward 72s and 88s, perfect for bagged promotions, followed by 64s, 105s and 56s, Cowan said. Later-season navels should be larger.
Late-mandarin varieties should start in early September, followed by the midknights in late September and early October. The South African program should wind down, as usual, in early November, when the California navel season starts, Cowan said.
Marc Solomon, senior vice president for St. Laurent, Quebec-based Capespan North America, said the company expects its first arrivals of South African clementines and navels near the end of June, comparable to past years.
Capespan expects South African volumes to be up this year, said Solomon, who also expects good quality and sizing. Growers also have reported no pest or water-related concerns.
“The crop is looking very clean with very few blemishes and high internal quality, high brix,” he said. “Sizing is normal, with a good supply of large sizes in both clementines and navels.
Capespan’s 2014 South African program will include clementines, navels, cara caras, star ruby grapefruit and midknight oranges.
“This is the normal mix from South Africa,” Solomon said.
Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet International expects its first arrivals from South Africa in early June, with volume expected by the third week of June, said category manager Gray Vinson.
“The season will start earlier than previous years.”
Seald Sweet plans to start with clementines in June, followed by navels in July, said Kim Flores, the company’s marketing director.
South Africa should have a much larger crop this year on navels, Vinson said, and clementine volumes should be slightly up from last year.
Sizing this year on navels will peak on 72s and clementines on 32s, he said.