Organic citrus supplies are starting strong out of California.
“We’re only in the first month of the organic crop. We’ve got another six months to go but we have a very solid crop set with plenty of promotable opportunities,” says Craig Morris of Homegrown Organic Farms in Porterville, CA.
Morris notes HGO is currently packing navel oranges, grapefruit, clementines, lemons and Satsuma mandarins. “We have very good crop sets on everything but our early clementines. We’re definitely a little lighter than in years past,” says Morris. That said, overall HGO has been investing in its farms and generally is seeing a 10 percent increase in volume annually.
In terms of sizing of the fruit, organic citrus usually sets lighter compared to conventional so Morris says its sizing is generally one to two sizes larger on the citrus items.
Strong demand for citrus
Meanwhile, demand has been very good for organic citrus says Morris. “Interest has been strong and we’re getting a lot of inquiries from new customers. Overall, the season is starting off very, very well,” he says. “The start of any crop feels like there’s a briskness to the equation and you’re not sure if it’s just because it’s the start. But it does have a little bit more excitement and interest this year compared to years past. I’m not sure if that’s because of COVID-19 or organic demand or a little bit of both.”
Looking ahead, as California moves deeper into its citrus season, the weather is one to watch. “The main concern we have coming into the winter months is the possibility of a hard freeze so the next four weeks are extremely critical as daylight hours shorten. We definitely have a dryer season than normal starting out,” he says.
Meanwhile as for pricing, Morris notes its steady and similar to last season.