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Trend for smaller sized bags

Small grapefruit sizes mean strong prices for growers

Citrus greening disease and a lack of rain means smaller grapefruit sizes for this coming season. “The crop is down this year so overall supplies are a bit lighter. But the main thing we’re dealing with right now is size,” says Dave Haller of Greene River Citrus in Vero Beach, Fl. “We haven’t had any rain in a long time. And typically when you’ve got a pretty good crop on the tree, the fruit is often smaller. So we’ve got decent sizes on the smaller end, but the larger sizes are tight.” 

The affect of citrus greening 
Greene and other Florida citrus growers are dealing with the greening disease, which is a psyllid that chokes the roots out so the nutrients don’t get to the trees producing small and sometimes sour tasting fruit. “However there’s a new antibiotic oxytetracycline we’re allowed to use now for Florida citrus,” says Haller. “We’ve been spending a lot of money in the field with new applications and that helps. It opens the root system up so the nutrients get in there and we have healthier trees.” 

Prices stay healthy
Offsetting that extra expense of dealing with the greening issue are continually strong prices notes Haller. “Prices are good and strong because supply is short,” he adds.

New bagging options
In turn, the small grapefruit sizes have also possibly affected how the tangy fruit is bagged. “We’re seeing some retailers switch to a 3 lb. bag of grapefruit where the trend has always been the 5 lb. It’s probably because they get a better price point and the fruit is on the smaller end so it makes sense to put those in a 3 lb. bag over a 5 lb.,” he says, noting he also sees larger club stores follow suit, opting for 8 lb. bags over 10 lb. bags. “I think it’s just coming down to price point. You get more bags at a cheaper price.”

For more information:
Dave Haller 
Greene River Citrus 
+1 772 778 8403