Florida citrus growers are enthusiastic about the upcoming season. “The grapefruit are maturing ahead of schedule compared to last year,” explains Matt Kastensmidt of IMG Citrus, “The quality is excellent and we’re excited for a great season.”

The citrus industry has been experiencing decreased volume in the last five years. While the 2008-2009 season saw a total of over 34 million bushels of grapefruit collected throughout Florida, in 2013 that number dropped to 24 million. “Last year we were down 12%,” explains Kastensmidt, “we might be down that much again this year despite an excellent crop.”

These decreases are partnered with the decreases in demand for grapefruit. The industry’s demand has fallen each year over the past 12 years. “The interaction that grapefruit has with medication has led to a decrease in demand. Hopefully we’ll see the industry level out with supply more in line with demand.”

Although not participating in the Florida’s trial plantings for a new variety of grapefruit which does not react with medication, IMG Citrus agrees that testing new strands of fruit remains imperative. “It is absolutely important to try new products in order to remain competitive with other regions worldwide.”
IMG Citrus exports to a variety of markets including Asia and Europe. “We shipped over 2.5 million cartons to Europe last year. Our exporting markets are very important to us, and they appreciate the quality of product we offer.” While there is no competition from Mexico, when exporting throughout the United States, Florida is somewhat in competition with Texas. “We’re responsible for shipping east of the Mississippi, while Texas covers the west. We do cross paths, but we maintain different markets.”

While IMG Citrus’s acreage has not changed in the last year, they continue to grow quality grapefruit in Florida’s tropical climate and soils. “The taste of our fruit has always been a selling point. Consumers in Asian and European markets want Florida citrus and we will continue to offer them a superior quality fruit.”

For more information:
Matt Kastensmidt
Tel: 772-778-6783