It's been a positive start to the specialty orange season in California. Weather conditions have been favorable enough to allow for good coloring on the fruit, according to suppliers. Additionally, supplies are steady and are set to improve over the next few weeks.
"The Cara Cara season is going strong," shared Cole Firman of Coosemans LA Shipping. "We started with beautiful coloring on the fruit and overall, the program has been a great addition along with our Blood oranges."
Firman said that if supplies are strong, the California-grown Cara Cara and Blood oranges will be available until June. "Some years, we finish up in April, but if conditions are right, we can have fruit until June," he said. "In about two weeks, we will see even better supply, especially of Blood oranges."
With supplies of Cara Cara and Blood oranges maintaining a steady volume, the market is also in a good position, producers say. This has been helped by strengthening demand which has been observed in recent years.
"Supply and demand has been well balanced, and has positioned us well to ensure a good return for growers," Firman noted. "We are finishing this month higher than in the past five years."
He added that another contributing factor to the good market has been the timing of the import and California seasons. "Californian Blood oranges have experienced a strong start as the Australian season finished a week before the California season started. Sometimes, the seasons overlap, placing pressure on the market. The Blood oranges have also come in with great coloring and demand has been strong."
Miniature grapefruit gaining traction
Another citrus product that Coosemans LA Shipping has available is a special variant of grapefruit. The miniature grapefruit is gaining popularity, Firman said, and the company hopes to continue to grow the program.
"We are seeing more requests for the miniature grapefruit," he said. "These little grapefruit are sized between an orange and a pomelo and fit into the palm of your hand. They are sweet and the size is appealing to consumers. It's a program we will look into growing in the future."
Coosemans LA Shipping ships its range of specialty oranges in 20lb packages.