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Duda Farm Fresh Foods offering up excellent supplies of high-quality Florida citrus

by Christina DiMartino | January 16, 2011
Duda Farm Fresh Foods in Oviedo, FL, has excellent supplies of high-quality Florida citrus available, according to Sam Jones, the company's citrus operation manager.

"Duda Farm Fresh is working with the Florida Department of Citrus on researching new citrus varietals for growing in the state of Florida," said Mr. Jones. "These tests have the top priority in working on citrus varietals that are consumer friendly, meaning great tasting, seedless and easy-to-peel fruit. Nothing has been released yet, but research and testing is underway."

Duda Farm Fresh Foods is the exclusive sales and marketing company for Peace River Packing in Ft. Meade, FL. Peace River Packing is a family-owned- and-operated citrus growing and packing company that has been in business for over 80 years.

Mr. Jones noted that February is National Grapefruit Month, and the product is at its peak flavor this time of year. "This is a great time for retailers to promote grapefruit," he said. "We will have consistent supplies available from January through April."

He continued, "We just made a smooth transition from Sunburst tangerines to Honey tangerines. Honey tangerines are known for their sweet distinctive flavor, smooth texture and thin, easy-peel rind. They will be available from January through April."

Hamlin oranges were still moving in mid-January, and Duda planned to transition to Valencia oranges in mid- to late February.

"We will have Florida oranges available from January through May," said Mr. Jones. "This is an excellent bagged fruit promotion item for retailers."

Paul Huckabay, Western citrus sales manager, said that the California citrus season started approximately two weeks late this year.

"The extremely wet December in California has further delayed the season by 10 to 14 days," Mr. Huckabay said Jan. 18. "We will work through the rest of January to catch up. Fortunately, the delay has allowed the fruit to grow, so larger sizes are available."

Duda's California clementines began Nov. 1 and will run through May 1. Meyer lemons run from November through August.

"The demand for Meyer lemons continues to rise," said Mr. Huckabay. "These lemons help drive incremental sales in the lemon category because they offer retailers a higher ring item. This relatively new but incredibly well-loved lemon is available for distribution across North America and has been a welcome addition to produce departments."

Duda Farm Fresh Foods began conducting a consumer media campaign several years ago. It has resulted in reaching 31 million consumers. Food blogging about Meyer lemons is up 179 percent from last year.

The company's Navel oranges from California are available from November to April. Minneolas begin in late December and run to March.

"Cara Cara oranges will be a new addition to Duda's lineup next growing season," Mr. Huckabay said.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods has introduced several new items. Its "Grab N Go" clementines, developed with health-conscious consumers in mind, feature a four-count of Citrine mandarins.

"Dandy" brand Meyer lemon totes and clamshells offer added convenience from both a merchandising and functional perspective. The one-pound bag is resealable and has a high-impact recipe on the label.