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Texas grapefruit season off to a good start

Texas grapefruit harvest started in the last week of September and is expected to continue through the end of April, perhaps early May. “We like to finalize the harvest by mid-April as temperatures start to go up and the industry increasingly faces competition from other tree fruit varieties as well as melons that come into production,” says Trent Bishop with Lone Star Citrus Growers. 

Grapefruit most promotable in January and February
January and February, the mid-season months, are considered to be most promotable for Texas red grapefruit. “Not only is the taste amazing, the health benefits fit the market very well,” shared Bishop. “From mid-November through January 1st, we run at full capacity for the holiday demand. In January and February, people ask for grapefruit as it fits in with their focus on health and wellness after the holidays.”

No overlap between Texas and California
The Texas grapefruit season started off strong. “We had some timely rains this off-season and are looking at a nice crop,” said Bishop. “It is a perfect storm of good conditions.” In addition, California wrapped up its grapefruit season right at the time Texas came into production, so there was virtually no overlap between the states. Ninety percent of the company’s grapefruit production is made up of the Red Rio Star variety.

Winter Sweetz™ revives grapefruit category
“We just launched our new grapefruit brand, called Winter Sweetz™,” says April Flowers with Lone Star Citrus. “The brand is clearly aimed at consumer education as we feel that has been lacking in recent years. As an industry, we need to help the consumer understand how to choose and prepare grapefruit.” The existing customer base is a key target market for Winter Sweetz™. “They tend to be women between the ages of 25 and 45. They are highly educated and do well for themselves. Their focus is on introducing a healthy piece of fruit into their households, and we want to embrace them,” mentioned Flowers. “Our core customers are very loyal, with about 60 percent of them eating grapefruit three times or more per week. The second target market is people who are approaching the category for the first time in a long time. We want them to be able to confidently choose sweet, delicious grapefruit every time they go to the store by removing the confusion from the category. We feel we’ve done that by marketing seasonality.”

The majority of Lone Star’s grapefruit is packed under the Winter Sweetz™ label and makes its way into grocery stores throughout the US and Canada. A small share of production is being exported to Japan. “As Florida’s grapefruit production decreases, we experience an increase in demand from Japan,” mentioned Bishop.

For more information:
Trent Bishop / April Flowers
Lone Star Citrus Growers
Tel: (+1) 956-424-7775

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