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Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Bee Sweet Citrus Weigh in on California's Winter Citrus Crop

Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Bee Sweet Citrus Weigh in on California's Winter Citrus Crop

CALIFORNIA - The fall and winter holidays mark the perfect entry for the burgeoning California citrus season in the state’s ever-evolving and popular growing regions. Now with the season well underway, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Bee SweetCitrus, join me to discuss the status of their programs and what we can expect for the holiday push.

Paul Huckabay, Western Citrus Sales Manager, Duda Farm Fresh FoodsPaul Huckabay, Western Citrus Sales Manager for Duda, tells me “We enjoyed a very active pre-Thanksgiving shipping period across all of our fresh citrus product lines and things appear to be setting up well for the Christmas period as well. Based on current demand, we are very optimistic about the holiday shipping period.”

Currently the company is growing lemons from the central Coast and the San Joaquin Valley as well as navel oranges, mandarins and Meyer lemons from the central San Joaquin Valley. The program kicked off in mid-October and will run through May with volumes peaking now through April.

Jason Sadoian, Sales Team Member, Bee Sweet CitrusJason Sadoian, Sales Team Member, Bee Sweet Citrus notes that the company’s peak promotional times include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the majority of the spring season. “Volume is up this year; we’ve seen a 10-15% increase in volume across the board and quality has maintained good levels thus far. While the market trend spiked for the Thanksgiving holiday, there’s always a lull that follows right after. We expect a higher demand for the Christmas pull.”

Green Pomellos

Both Paul and Jason tell me that the industry has been faced with several challenges this year including drought and warm fall temperatures. Paul notes that fortunately, the state is finally experiencing colder temperatures and has had some nice rains over the past few weeks, leaving Duda very optimistic.

Despite the challenges mentioned, Pauls adds that “Duda has a full crop and quality is very nice. Sizing on navel oranges started out rather small, but is now improving. We are very enthused about the season thus far.”

Jason tells me, “With the prospect of El Nino, we’re hopeful our biggest challenge will be met this fall/winter as concern continues to surround our drought in California. In addition, labor is on the decline and that has been our second biggest challenge. We are making significant strides with labor improvement, but our water deficit is completely out of our hands. We have made efforts, however, to conserve water in both the packing house and on the field.”

Meyer Lemons

Currently, Bee Sweet Citrus is offering a host of citrus staples and specialty varieties from navel oranges, lemons, and satsuma mandarins to clementine mandarins, Meyer Lemons, pommelos, oro blancos, and cocktail grapefruit.

“Starting December 7th, we will welcome back Cara Caras and Minneola Tangelos into the mix, and on December 28th, we’ll welcome back Blood Oranges,” Jason says. The California citrus season starts in October for Bee Sweet as well, and ends in May.

This season Duda has several different innovative pack offerings across its product lines including Dandy® Meyer Lemon pouch bags, Citrines® Grab N’ Go mandarins and Dandy® Citrus Celebrations navel orange bags as well as Dandy® Sweet Mandarins display shippers.

Orange Grove

And as Bee Sweet moves further into the holiday season, the company will focus on promoting mandarins, lemons and its specialty citrus lineup. In addition, Bee Sweet will continue to monitor weather patterns as we dive deeper into the winter months. While harvesting certain varieties might be delayed due to uncontrollable weather, Bee Sweet anticipates another good push this holiday season.

As 2016 quickly approaches, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we bring you more updates on the California citrusseason.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods Bee Sweet Citrus

Companies in this Story

Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc

What started out as the pursuit of the American dream by Andrew Duda, a young Slovak immigrant, has become one the country...