Oranges – High Demand & Growing Challenges

As students head back to school, the demand for oranges continues to escalate. Market conditions are being significantly impacted by the increased demand, causing higher pricing and cosmetic defects to the fruit. Most notably, 113CT Oranges will continue to command these elevated prices through the remainder of the Valencia season. Peak sizing at this time are 72CT and 88CT

At this point in the season, the majority of oranges are grown in the Central Valley. This year, the Central Valley is experiencing extremely hot temperatures. As a result of this, we are seeing much of the fruit experience re-greening. Re-greening, put simply, is caused by the fruit’s exposure to high-heat. While oranges cannot over-ripen even if left on the tree, they do require cooler temperatures to inhibit the chlorophyll pigments and set that instantly recognizable orange color. Re-greening is a common occurrence for this time of year and is purely cosmetic. Most importantly, this does not affect the flavor or quality of the fruit. It is a temporary change to the fruit’s appearance and can still be safely consumed and enjoyed.

The increased Central Valley temperatures do raise other growing related concerns. Softening of the fruit and pack pressure are two considerations growers and shippers are monitoring closely. Stem-end aging is another factor we are looking our for. Looking ahead, the domestic navel season is expected to kick off in mid-late October. The start of this season marks the transition from Valencia’s to Navels.

As the school season propels the demand for Oranges in the market, market conditions remain strong. While some varieties may be commanding higher prices, cosmetic changes like re-greening should not deter consumers. The upcoming Navel season should offer a fresh start despite the challenges we are currently seeing.

Seashore Fruit & Produce Co. in partnership with PRO*ACT will continue to keep you updated on this market and source the freshest products available to us.

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