Seven Seas Fruit

US (CA): Rising demand brings organic citrus program

Seven Seas Fruit in Visalia, California, a member of the Tom Lange family of companies, will begin marketing organic lemons and oranges this season. A complement to their existing line of conventional California citrus, the addition comes at a good time, as demand for organic fruit continues to rise.

“Our organic citrus program is generating a lot of interest from retailers because they want just one pick-up,” said Mark Krauter of Seven Seas Fruit. The convenience of sourcing both conventional and organic citrus from one supplier is very attractive. “The addition of organic will help us increase our current offering and moves us in the direction of our long-term goals for the West Coast, which is to establish a strong customer base for our California fruit.”

“To start, organic production will be limited, but important,” Krauter said. “Demand for organic seems to be getting bigger and bigger.” While demand for conventional citrus is increasing for some varieties, Krauter sees that as more of a shift within the conventional market to easy-peeling items rather than a large-scale expansion.

Bre Macomber and Becky Wilson present Organic citrus line and the Big Five brand

California navel season looks good, rainy
Harvesting of navel oranges in California is currently in the early stages, and Krauter noted that fruit quality looks promising. With substantial amounts of rain forecast, quality could be affected; however the long-term benefits of the rain will be a boon to citrus growers.

“We are definitely watching the weather, but we need a wet winter in California. Currently, prices for the navels are around $20.00 per carton” added Krauter. Lemons face competition from Mexican imports, but good demand overseas has made up for that.

“We have a good market in Australia and have expanded into South America. We also do a little bit in Asia, but mostly focus on the South Pacific and South America.”

Like all growers, citrus greening has been a worry, but Krauter explained that California's citrus industry is working hard to make sure it doesn't take hold in the state. There's much time and energy being invested into ways to control the disease as well as ways to eliminate it.

“HLB hasn't posed a problem in California yet other than it has added more issues when transporting fruit between districts,” said Krauter. “We're looking at genetic solutions for the trees, because right now we are completely susceptible to citrus greening. It's going to be a long struggle, but we don't want to see happen here what has happened in Florida.”

For more information:
Mark Krauter
Seven Seas
Tel: +1 217 786 3300

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