US agribusiness Limoneira has announced a move to launch direct sales of oranges and specialty citrus varieties, bringing them in-house under its ‘One World of Citrus’ model, which focuses on supplying customers globally.
“For 124 years, we’ve been growing a wide variety of citrus,” said Alex Teague, Limoneria’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer. “We began our direct selling programme for lemons six years ago, and we are excited to once again have our oranges and other citrus varieties marketed in Limoneira cartons.”
The Santa Paula-based agribusiness took its lemon marketing and distribution in-house in 2010. Its lemon sales volumes have more than doubled since then to more than 3m cartons, and, in an exclusive interview with Asiafruit last year, Limoneira CEO Harold Edwards said the group was targeting 10m cartons in the future, led by opportunitic acquisitions. But Limoneira has similar ambitions for its orange and speciality citrus business.
“Limoneira’s global lemon customers have been asking us to sell our other citrus varieties for quite a while,” said John Carter, Limoneira’s director of global sales. “We look forward to the opportunity to grow the category and connect shoppers to other citrus trees. Customers have appreciated the quality and consistency that they receive with Limoneira’s lemons, and we will deliver these same benefits with our oranges and specialty citrus”.
Limoneira will partner with Cecelia Packing Corporation for packing Limoneira oranges and speciality citrus under its own brands. “They share our values and commitment,” said Teague. “Like our lemon packing house in Santa Paula, they have a state-of-the-art facility in Orange Cove that’s close to our orange and specialty citrus groves”.
In addition to navel and valencia oranges, Limoneira will supply Cara Cara navels, Moro blood oranges, pommelos and Star Ruby grapefruit from its groves.
Limoneira has been producing around 1m cartons of oranges a year, almost exclusively navels. Speaking to Asiafruit last year, Edwards said the company was keen to ramp up its orange production to the same level as lemons in the long-term. “We want to keep it balanced and we see no reason why we can’t have equal-sized supply chains,” he said. “We see strong growth prospects in export markets for good-eating navels and other orange varieties.”