Look for navel oranges, fallglo tangerines and clementines from Australia to arrive two to three weeks earlier than usual this year.
The first load of tangerines was scheduled to arrive in Long Beach, Calif., May 25. Clementines are due June 8, and navels were projected to arrive June 22 for inspection and to be ready to ship to supermarkets two days later, said Stu Monaghan, national marketing manager for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., exclusive marketer of Australian citrus in the U.S.
Daisy tangerines should arrive in Philadelphia in July.
DNE will import navels, clementines, fallglo tangerines, daisy tangerines, minneolas and cara cara and blood oranges from Australia this season.
All varieties should have larger volume and larger sizes than last year, and fruit quality should be exceptional.
“Conditions have been ideal for growing citrus down in Australia,” Monaghan said.
Weather was “not too hot or not too cold” throughout the growing season.
DNE expects to ship 750,000 cartons of navels this year, up from 500,000 last year.
In addition, the company will export 75,000 cartons of daisy tangerines, 50,000 cartons of clementines, 23,000 cartons of cara cara oranges, 24,000 cartons of blood oranges and 100,000 cartons of minneolas to the U.S., Monaghan said.
Blood oranges should arrive in mid-August.
“What we’ll have in each of these varieties is a high-color, high-maturity piece of fruit that is very bright and very clean,” he said.
One reason for the good quality on all Australian citrus is the return of normal rainfall patterns.
A 10-year drought was broken two years ago with heavy rains, Monaghan said. Rainfall was lighter than usual last year but back to normal this year.
The last load of Australian citrus for the season should be navels, arriving in mid-October.
“We’ll have consistent supplies from the last week of June through the third week of October,” he said.
Promotable volume should be on hand from July 11 through mid-September.
DNE will help retailers drive sales through September by providing promotion dollars that can be applied to display contests, volume incentives or advertising, Monaghan said.
Retailers look forward to expanding the citrus category with clementines, navels and minneolas, Monaghan said.
“Summer citrus is now a viable part of revenues for retailers during the summer,” he said.
Although Australia grows numerous kinds of citrus, those exported to the U.S. have been “pared down to varieties that work,” he said.
DNE offers navel and cara cara oranges in 35-pound cartons stacked 70 per pallet. Specialty varieties, including tangerines, minneolas and blood oranges, come in 22-pound cartons stacked 100 per pallet.
The company also offers 3-pound bags of navels and clementines.
How much fruit will be available as the season progresses will depend on the currency exchange rates, Monaghan said.
If the rate favors Australian growers, expect to see more volume in late September and early October, he said.
Australian navels, which are shipped out of the port city of Adelaide, are grown in three regions — Riverland and Sunraysia, each of which ships about 45% of the total, and Riverina, which ships the remaining 10%.
Tangerines also are grown in all of the regions.