While the domestic supply of oranges is steady, growers know and are already feeling the traditional drop off for demand.
“As far as California oranges, we’re into the Valencia crop,” says Richard Gomes of Fruta Royal, LLC in Visalia, Ca. “And while movement is fairly decent, schools are out so that slows things down on the smaller sizes particularly. They usually take the 138 and 113 sizes and there plenty of those out there now.”
As for Valencia supplies, Gomes notes that California’s District 1, which is the Central part of the state, is where most the oranges are coming from. “They’re coming out with a lot of larger sizes--so 72s, 88s and 56s. But in District 2, which includes the Oxnard and Venture area, the Valenicas are much smaller peaking on 88s, 113s and 138s. District 2 also has more Choice grade Valencias because a lot of the fruit has wind scarring right now,” he said.
As far as imported Valencias, that’s limited though domestically, Florida likely has a few more weeks of production and Texas is also finishing up.
Overall though, the California Valencia volume is estimated to be down about 15 percent from last year—and last year’s crop was down 15 percent from the year earlier as well. “Our Navel oranges were shorter in numbers this year as well,” says Gomes, who notes that generally pricing is slightly higher this year.
Navel v. Valencia
The California Valencia crop kicks off early in mid-March for export. “When Valencias start, we’re still in the middle of Navel season. But when the Navels start to soften, exporters start shipping Valencias,” says Gomes, adding that the primary export sizes are 72s, 88s and 113s. Then, domestically Valencias begin shipping when Navels start to wind down in June.
While this year demand is anticipated to pick up again around mid-August, Gomes anticipates the crop should be done by mid-September which could set up the same scenario for oranges that was seen last year. “Last year we were done with Valencias in early September and we had to wait four weeks until Navels got going,” he says. “It was the first year we’ve had a gap on California oranges in about 14 years because of that shorter Valencia crop.”
For more information:
Richard GomesFruta Royal, LLC
Tel: +1 (559) firstname.lastname@example.org