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US (CA): Clementine production expected to increase

On the back of new plantings reaching maturity, this year's clementine crop in California is expected to larger than last year's. Coloring has been held back a little by late warm weather, but that's not expected to significantly delay the season.

“Volume of clementines on trees should be up 15 percent over a year ago,” said Fred Berry, director of marketing for Mullholland Citrus in Orange Cove, California. Factoring in normal utilization levels, he said that the increase of on-tree figures could translate to an uptick of up to 10 percent for harvested fruit. The main reason for that increase, noted Berry, is the maturity of plantings from previous years.

“The biggest share of that increase will come from maturing trees,” he said. “There were decent sets last year, so it's mostly due to production for younger trees coming online.”

Though clementines have been on the market since about last week, Berry said that Mullholland has been waiting for most of their fruit to gain color before harvesting large portions of the crop. That extra time needed for coloring has come as a result of warm weather running late into the year.

“We've just been waiting for a bit more maturity and color break,” explained Berry. “Color has been retarded somewhat by warm weather in September and October, but now that we're getting the more traditional fall-type weather with cooler nights, that should enhance color break.” He added that the delay they've had pertains only to coloring and that internal maturity has not been affected at all.

“We're just trying to get more overall color maturity so we don't have to gas as much,” he said. In fact, this year has been very good with no significant delays.

“Right now, we're really happy about what we see,” said Berry. “We had late starts the last couple of seasons due to delays in the maturity of fruit, but excellent growing weather in the summer has this season coming along nicely. So I think consumers will be very happy with the quality of mandarins and clementines this year.”

For more information:
Fred Berry
Mullholland Citrus
 +1 559 528 2525

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