Seedless mandarin arrivals into North America from the southern hemisphere are remaining steady, with no reports of any major issues or delays. Toronto-based North American Produce Buyers are currently sourcing seedless mandarins from Chile and Argentina, with arrivals expected soon from Peru and South Africa as well.
"Currently, we are receiving clementines from Chile, Tangos from Argentina, and on the water now are Nadorcotts and Orri mandarins from Argentina," shared Larry Davidson of North American Produce Buyers. "As we speak, we are also loading W Murcotts in Peru and Nadorcotts from South Africa. The available varieties and when they are shipped all depend on seasonality in the various regions."
Orri mandarins soon to arrive
As Davidson mentioned, Orri mandarins are due to arrive in the Canadian market from Argentina soon. He noted that the overall mandarin category is growing each year, with a trend towards larger fruit with darker skin and fuller flavor. Orri mandarins in particular are seeing an increase in demand.
"Demand for all mandarin varieties is growing, and the key is that they need to be seedless," Davidson said. "For us in the Toronto market, we have found that Orri mandarins are very popular when they're available. They originate in Israel and during the winter months we import greater volumes of them. During that time of year, they have taken a large part of the Toronto market."
Demand eases in August
While seedless mandarins now enjoy a strong position in retail stores year-round, consumers are still showing a preference to locally-grown produce in season. Along with stronger supplies, the market for mandarins tends to ease back during the latter summer period.
"Right now, the market is pretty steady and the season is very orderly at this point," Davidson observed. "Typically, prices begin to drop when all regions are on at the same time. This usually happens in August which is generally the quietest time of the year for citrus in the Toronto region. There are many produce items that are locally grown and in season. Therefore, citrus is not on the frontburner in Canada at that time. After Labor Day and also once kids return to school, the market tends to pick up again."
Meanwhile, Davidson added that North American Produce Buyers continues to grow its seedless mandarin program in response to consumer demand. "We continue to expand our import horizon as countries continue to increase what they grow. As of now, seedless mandarins are the main source of interest in the citrus category."