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US importer of specialty citrus from Sicily feels shortage of blood oranges
There’s a smaller orange crop for Brazil, Europe and domestically in the US, which has caused the predicted global orange production for 2017/18 to plummet about 4 metric tonnes, according to a report released this month from the United States Department of Agriculture. Tangerines and lemons grown in Sicily for juice processing are still in good supply, however blood orange has dropped in production, which has temporarily stopped shipping to some importers.
Dream Foods, which receives premium lemon, tangerine and blood orange organic and conventional juices from Sicily, has felt the shortage of blood oranges. “We’re not importing Italian Volcano® Blood Orange juice at the moment, which is the first time this has happened since we launched the product in 2003,” says John Stachela. The company should start shipping it again from Sicily in March. He says the cause was the weather. “Flooding in Sicily damaged the last crop so it pushed things out farther than we normally operate.”
Lime and lemon are 100 percent fresh squeezed, and best used for cooking, adding to cocktails and beverages or making salad dressings and desserts. The blood orange and tangerine juices are sold ready-to-drink but also have applications in cocktails and cooking. Lime juice is sourced from Mexico and South America since the fruit doesn’t grow commercially in Sicily.
Sicilian lemons are a different variety, with a slightly sweeter taste. Stachela says, “the citrus grown in the region is unique, with intense flavor and aroma. Groves are located near Mount Etna, an active volcano. In that region the volcanic ash is extremely rich for the soil. That combined with warm coastal days and cool nights is ideal for growing citrus.”
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