While Chile has garnered a lot of the attention this year, Peru continues to be a reliable source of high-quality citrus, said J.B. Cutsinger, partner in Burlingame, Calif.-based Splendid Products LLC.
“We’ve had real good acceptance on the citrus that we’ve brought in from Peru,” he said. “The quality is better than expected. It is turning into a nice commodity for the retailers during that stretch of September and October. With Florida not being able to ship citrus into other citrus-producing states due to their canker problem, this has filled that void from California.”
Jeff Miller, owner of Westlake Produce Co., Los Angeles, said his company was among the first U.S.-based shippers to get involved in offshore citrus and that the program continues to grow.
“We just try to get involved in all aspects of it,” Miller said. “The areas that seem to have some growth to it are the Chilean and Peruvian citrus.”
Australia has good product, he said, but the prices are high, which gives Peruvian and Chilean growers an opportunity to move in, make a little less money and make a name for themselves.
David Mixon, chief marketing officer for Vero Beach, Fla.-based Seald Sweet LLC, said he anticipates an active summer.
“We see some opportunities with new products coming out of Chile, primarily with the navels being offered for the first time in the marketplace,” he said.
He estimated volumes from South Africa and Australia, respectively, to be around 1.3 million and 1.5 million boxes.