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.
DNE expects Australian navel oranges to arrive in the U.S. starting the first week of July and continuing until mid-October.
Daisies should arrive the third week of June for five weeks, and minneolas should start by the end of July and continue for six weeks, Monaghan said.
Australian Cara caras should arrive in the U.S. the first week of August, and blood oranges should be available by late August.
The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, also plans to import Australian citrus from early July until early October, said James Milne, citrus category director.
Allowing multiple importers “will only enhance what is already a premium program,” he said.
Oppenheimer’s Australian line includes navels and easy-peelers as well as a few specialty varieties such as cara caras and minneolas.
Peru also is expected to ship some citrus to the U.S.
Duda plans to continue its program of satsumas and minneolas, Huckabay said.
The company’s first satsumas arrived in mid-May and should be available until mid-June. Minneolas should start in early August and continue through mid-September.