Summer citrus importers expect good quality, supplies - The Packer

Summer citrus importers expect good quality, supplies

06/07/2013 12:56:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Courtesy Duda Farm Fresh FoodsChilean navel oranges from Oviedo, Fla.-based Duda Farm Fresh Foods should be available in the U.S. starting in early July and should continue into early October, says Paul Huckabay, citrus sales manager. Thanks to the global marketplace, citrus is no longer a seasonal item.

As California navel orange supplies wind down, fruit should begin arriving in North America from growing areas in South Africa, Chile and Australia.

Clementines, grapefruit and other citrus also should be available in produce departments throughout the U.S. and Canada, allowing for a mostly seamless transition from one region to another.

Citrus imports from South Africa should increase this year, said Tom Cowan, South African citrus manager for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla.

However, clementine shipments are expected to drop slightly and be tight at least until mid-June, he said.

Mandarins, navels, cara caras and midknight valencias are other summer citrus items available from South Africa, said Kim Flores, marketing manager for Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, Fla.

South African clementine volume should peak around the last week of June through the first two weeks of July, and late mandarins should peak around mid-September, Flores said.

Navels should start showing up in June but will be heaviest in July and August, Cowan said.

They’ll wind down in mid-September, when the midknights arrive, Cowan said.


Impact of weather in Chile

In Chile, weather was cooler than usual during the spring, summer and early fall, Flores said, and a prolonged drought has caused a severe water shortage, especially in the early districts.

The lack of water likely will affect sizing in the north, she said.

Seald Sweet’s clementine volume from Chile should be similar to last year, but overall shipments to North America could be down as much as 10% because of smaller sizing, she said.

Oviedo, Fla.-based Duda Farm Fresh Foods started Chilean clementines just after Memorial Day and expects to continue until early October, said Paul Huckabay, Visalia, Calif.-based Western citrus sales manager.

Appearance and flavor should be very good this season, he said, but supplies of large fruit likely will be limited because of the drought.

Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DNE World Fruit Sales plans to import navel oranges from Chile from the first week of July until the California navel deal starts in late October, said Matt Gordon, domestic sales, Chilean team leader.

Fukumotos are the first oranges out of Chile, he said, followed by washingtons and the late lanes.

Because of a regulatory change in Australia, DNE no longer will have exclusivity on citrus exports, but the company still will have a substantial program of navels and other items this season, said Stu Monaghan, national marketing manager.

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