California’s organic citrus season may be delayed a bit. Creekside Organics, which merged with Capay Organic in January 2021, is in the midst of converting more than 100 acres from conventional to organic in Porterville, California, along with land Capay Organic farms in Yolo County. .
“This year we have organic tangerines, some conventional Meyer lemons, conventional Cara Caras and conventional blood oranges, as we transition those lands,” said Ashley Berlinger, business development manager and sales representative for Creekside Organics. Inc. All these products are part of Creekside’s extensive organic citrus range, which will be completed by 2025 and will include organic Cara Cara, organic blood oranges, organic lemons, organic navel oranges, organic Meyer lemons, organic tangerines and finger limes ecological. “We expanded our program and consolidated it to become a comprehensive service. We also got our Fair Trade certification.”
The delay is due to the heat and waiting for cooler nights. “We are one of the first to sell our organic Satsuma because we are further north in Yolo County,” said Berlinger, noting that the season for this product should begin in mid-November. Libson lemons will also start with dates, Meyer lemons in mid-January and Cara Cara and conventional blood oranges in late January-early February.
However, the supply of mandarins, navels and lemons will decrease in the whole sector due to the damage caused by thrips. “However, the market will remain competitive, as there has been a huge land shift in the last five years,” added Berlinger. Apart from the small fruit, the availability of the first category fruit will be very limited, while more second category fruit is expected. “There is a lot of demand for Navel, lemons and Cara Cara packed to move the volume. This way we get a good harvest for the producers and we don’t leave anything in the field.”
This low supply will be accompanied by strong demand that must exceed it. “Everybody’s heard that yields are going down,” Berlinger said. “The holiday season is also when people think about vitamin C and health, and with January comes the push for New Year’s resolutions.” Meanwhile, holiday cocktails should help increase restaurant demand for lemons and limes.
Consumption of specialty citrus fruits also seems to be growing. “There is a need for more variety. Sweetness is the most important thing, but so is the relationship between acid and Brix. It’s about fruit with a soft touch that doesn’t just taste like sugar water, “said Berlinger, who added that the activities of selling around Cara Cara, for example, like pink orange and branded citrus, also helped get consumers excited about the category.
As for prices, they are expected to be high for premium fruit and, in general, stable FOB prices are expected for the season. “There’s a lot of navels, lemons, Meyer and Cara Cara in the sector; there’s definitely more flexibility with that fruit,” Berlinger said.