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Florida’s finish on citrus will likely push demand for Texas fruit

Texas citrus continues to be on the slimmer side of supplies. “Oranges have been tight all season due to strong demand,” says April Flowers of Lone Star Citrus, noting it has mostly small sizes peaking on 113s. “We are about 65 percent through our grapefruit crop and are peaking on mostly small sizes, with promotional volume available on small, choice fruit. Fancy fruit is very tight this time of year.”

In October, April and TJ Flowers hosted Congressman G.T. Thompson and Congresswoman Mayra Flores (House Ag Committee).

On grapefruit, 95 percent of Lone Star’s crop is Rio Red while on oranges, it’s moving from Marrs to Pineapple oranges and it expects to move into Valencias in early March. The crop comes solely out of the Rio Grande Valley spanning about 4,000 acres. 

It’s a different picture than last year where Lone Star only had about 30 percent of a typical crop following the freeze of February 2021. “This year, we have recovered to about 60-65 percent,” says Flowers. “We started two to three weeks late this season due to maturity issues related to the 2021 freeze, which was followed by a drought. We expect to go through mid-April.”

Impacting demand
As for demand, January started strong though February typically sees some slowing down following the rush of holidays and New Year’s resolutions. “As we move into this February, we are beginning to see the effects of the economy and adverse weather on consumer spending. That said, February is National Grapefruit Month, creating several display and festival opportunities,” said Flowers. “As Florida winds down, we expect to see a small surge in demand for our last few weeks.”

She also anticipates seeing an overall sustained demand for citrus, largely attributed to the health benefits associated with the fruit. “Consumers experienced a dietary shift during the pandemic that led them to foods with high vitamin C content,” says Flowers. “As kids have returned to school and activities over the last year, the flu and RSV outbreaks have reinforced that behavior.”

Meanwhile, on pricing, it started off strong this season. However, due to weather patterns and inflationary factors, there’s been an easing in the market. “There is still opportunity for ad pricing, particularly on choice grapefruit,” she adds.  

For more information:
April Flowers
Lone Star Citrus Growers
Tel: +1 (956) 424-7775  

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