CCM says navel and mandarin crops will deliver what consumers “love and expect” 

It won’t be a record harvest for California’s navel and mandarin growers in 2022/23, but fruit quality will be what consumers have come to expect.

That’s according to California Citrus Mutual’s (CCM) marketing committee, which is comprised of growers, distributors and marketers based in the US state.

With a packout of around 76m cartons forecast, the committee says the navel crop volume will be approximately 10 per cent up on last season but short of historical averages.

Preliminary maturity tests show that the crop is progressing well, according to the committee, with high sugar content that well exceeds the “California standard” for sweetness.

The mandarin crop is also reported to be progressing well in terms of quality and fruit size. The committee estimated the mandarin crop volume would be as much as 30 per cent up on last season, but still well below the average production level of the last 10 years.

“The 2022/23 crop will deliver what consumers have come to love and expect from California citrus – a delicious, sweet navel orange and mandarin that is unrivalled by the rest of the world,” said Casey Creamer, president of CCM.

Creamer said the high quality of this season’s crop is the silver lining of a very costly growing season.

“Like many Americans, growers are faced with rising inflation and increasing costs,” Creamer said. “The cost to grow and ship California citrus has more than doubled in the past ten years.

“Since 2020, growers’ costs have increased over US$1,000 per acre and in the last year alone, costs have gone up 25 per cent with fertilizer, fuel, and water being the main drivers. We also expect higher costs on the packing and shipping side this season largely due to increased transportation and labour costs.”

The California navel harvest will start by the end of October followed by mandarins in early November.