Florida grapefruit rebounding from lackluster 2012-13 season

11/26/2013 12:36:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

Dan Richey, chief executive officer of Riverfront Groves LLC, said the season started with variable fruit testing.

Because of a prolonged bloom during winter, he said it took longer than normal for growers to get the fruit to pass the maturity standards.

“The external quality looks better than last year, and the internal quality is also much better,” Richey said in early November. “The fruit has very high brix. The brix is a point higher than the same time last year (10% higher).”

On organic grapefruit, Uncle Matt’s Organic Inc., Clermont, planned to begin harvesting in late November.

“We are seeing very strong demand for that red seedless,” said Steve Kiral, fresh fruit sales manager. “The field reports all indicate we should have a nice size range and a good crop ahead.”

Kiral said he expects a variety of sizes, including many 32s and 30s as well as the smaller 40s, 48s and 56s and some supplies of the larger 27s.

Uncle Matt’s typically finishes production in mid-March.

In mid-November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported these prices for 4/5-bushel cartons of Florida red grapefruit arriving in Boston: $24 for 23s, $23-24 for 27s, $21-22 for 32s, $19 for 36s, $16 for 40s, $14-15 for 48s and $12-13 for 56s.

Last season in early November, the USDA reported $30 for 27s, $28-32 for 32s, $26-29 for 36s, $20-24 for 40s, $19-21 for 48s and $17-21 for 56s.

The Indian River region expects to pack promotable volume through mid-April.

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