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Big yields in store for California kumquat growers
The Kumquat season has just commenced in California's desert region and expectations are for a much bigger crop than last year. A combination of ideal temperatures combined with new plantings in the region is giving growers a positive outlook to the season.
Manolo DuBon, of Seaview Sales in California, said their farms are expecting their crop size to be double over last year. "Our kumquats are grown on Seaview Ranch in the Coachella district," he said. "The season started just over a week ago and will go into the first week of January. We are expecting a very big crop, double than last year. Yields are expected to generate 20,000lb per acre, compared with last year's 10,000lb per acre. Temperatures have been above 85 degrees during the day and dipping to around 60 in the early morning. This gives the fruit a rich color and optimal size."
New trees helping with yields
Many of the trees at Seaview Ranch are decades old and Seaview are in the process of replacing them with new plantings. This has been taking place over the last year or two and is one of the reasons the company are seeing a rise in kumquat numbers.
"Some of the trees on our ranch are 45 years old," DuBon said. "That is very old for a kumquat tree and we are in the process of pulling them out and planting new trees. We believe this has contributed to the bigger yield this year. The process of replacing the older trees will take about 4 years. Although the new trees are partially responsible for the additional numbers, overall it has been a natural increase.
Care needed when picking
Kumquat trees need a lot of attention in order for the best fruit to come off the tree. Growers spend a lot of time and care when picking so as to make sure the color and size is optimal for the market.
"Kumquats are tricky trees to grow," DuBon continued. "Also, you need people who know how to pick them. The picker needs to pay attention to the color and size. The deeper orange ones are the best for the market as many customers look out for the color. There has been increasing demand, particularly in the Asian community. Kumquats are used extensively in cooking and there are a lot of recipes out there involving the fruit."
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