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Grapefruit going strong – even for the millennial generation

Grapefruit is rounding first base for the busiest time of the year. Things begin to pick up the Friday after Thanksgiving, says Trent Bishop, Sales Manager of Lone Star Citrus. Although the season is much longer, this is the fruit’s limelight. “As we speak we’re filling orders to get everything in the store in time for Christmas and then right after that business picks up with all the New Years ads; the retailers (run) health and wellness promotions and everybody’s on a diet and trying to find the healthiest food they can. Usually grapefruit hits every one of those lists,” he said. To mark this festive and busy time of year for grapefruit, Lone Star is proud of its gift carton, made available to some retailers across North America.

New generation discovering grapefuit
The fruit has managed to compete with trendy health foods – resurged even. “I’d say there’s a rejuvenation of the category. I’ve seen in the last 5 years a new energy associated with grapefruit. It’s a combination of growers doing a better job of relaying the health and wellness message and also that millennials seem to have picked up on it as a healthy option,' says April Flowers. They’re not simply preparing or eating it the way their parents or grandparents did. It’s featured in high-end restaurant and bar cocktails but also used in salads and side dishes. 

Supply is plentiful and price is fair
“We try to pace our crop out so we have plenty to harvest from October to May and right now, really the only thing that limits supply at this point is a) weather and b) our ability to de-green and run everything through the facility,” said Flowers. Right now weather has cooperated and the facility is running at maximum capacity. Fruit is grown in the deep south of Texas, just north of the Rio Grande River; 90 per cent of what’s grown is Rio Star but they also have two other varieties: Ruby Sweet and Henderson grapefruit.

Competition is always head to head with Florida, but during the hurricane in 2005 the company made inroads to increase its customer base and has retained many customers since Florida recovered. Pricing is slightly higher at this point. “It has settled down from where it started two months ago but generally speaking the market is fair to good,” he said.

Season extends to spring, wraps up in April
Going forward if Mother Nature keeps at bay and allows everyone to harvest without any weather interruptions, Flowers says, January should be a situation where they’ll be harvesting, processing and filling orders at maximum capacity until around the third week of January. The crop will be wrapped up on the third week of April.

For more information:
Trent Bishop
Lone Star Citrus
Tel: (956) 424-7775