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Grapefruit season ramping up in California
Grapefruit production in the United States is gradually moving into California and volume is picking up as the season transitions. Texas is almost done for the year and Florida has already completed their diminishing season, earlier than it has traditionally. Star Ruby grapefruit is the variety of focus at the moment, until later in the California season when the Marsh Ruby grapefruit enters the market.
"The California grapefruit season has just started, with production centered in Riverside and into the Central Valley," said Dave Adams of Sunkist Growers. "Florida wrapped up early this year as they continue to see a decline in acreage due to citrus greening. The Texas season will be finishing up in a few weeks. There is plenty of volume now as California ramps up production and suppliers are waiting for movement away from Texas and into California."
Market improving every year
Prices of grapefruit are rising each year as demand increases. Growers have noted that there is more appeal for the fruit among younger people which is helping the category grow. At this time of year, demand typically picks up in line with warmer weather.
"May to July sees the highest demand, which coincides with the peak of the California season," he continued. "We are seeing a shift with more millennials enjoying grapefruit. This has sparked a boost in consumption in the category."
Export market solid
Exports of California grapefruit continue to steadily increase, with demand especially high in East Asia as well as South America. China has not been a huge buyer of California grapefruit, but producers are seeing more interest every year. The recent announcement of Chinese tariffs on US citrus will not have much effect, given the limited volumes.
"Exports to Chile are about to start up for the season and we continue to see good demand from there," said KP Jassar of Porterville Citrus. "China is also starting to take more, but it's still a limited market there. Taiwanese consumers enjoy smaller sized fruit so they are a particular market in that regard. Overall, the biggest volumes go to Japan and Korea, with Chile also now importing significant volume."
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