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California is packing up a fast-moving orange season

“The naval orange season is winding down quickly,” says Randy Jacobson of Cecelia Packing Corp. in Orange Cove, Ca. “We’re done this week and I know a number of other packers are finishing up or have finished up. Some of the very large packers will probably go through this month, possibly into June.”

Jacobson attributes the early finish to a few largely-weather related factors. “The trees actually bloomed under severe drought conditions and I think that took a toll on the amount of fruit kept on the trees,” he says. “And then we had a very wet winter for which we’re all grateful but it was also relatively warm. And that contributed to the advanced maturity of the fruit. This fruit started the season very mature. It was pretty much believed it would continue to mature at a more rapid pace than you might expect.”

Overall, volume was down notably as well by as much as 15 per cent from last year’s levels.

Demand looked even
That said, Jacobson says demand was relatively steady. “The weather prevented an over supply in the market and people realized there was not an abundance of fruit. The harvest was orderly from the latter part of January,” he says. “Pricing remained good and since the middle of March we've seen a rising market.”

And so now, Cecelia is making its transition into its Valencia orange season, initially for export but now also being sold domestically, largely on the foodservice side. “It’s expected to be a very strong Valencia season,” says Jacobson. “Not so much in the next month and a half but once we reach August and schools go back in session, we see historically a spike in demand for Valencias and this year should be no exception.”

For more information:
Randy Jacobson
Cecilia Packing Corporation
Tel: +1-559-626-7411

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