The Chuck Olsen Co. in Visalia, CA, has a diverse citrus program consisting of shipping deals with several growers, according to Vice President Jeff Olsen.
“We are running lemons right now out of District Three [the southern desert],” he said Oct. 18. “We will have lemons out of there probably through March, and then District 1 [coastal area] fruit that will take us into the summer. Right now quality is excellent out of the desert. It is one of the best years in years as far as overall quality is concerned.”
Movement on thelemons is OK, he said. “But at this point there is a fair amount of fruit on the market,” including Mexican lemons, “a little bit of District 2 [Central Valley] cleaning up,” and “a little bit of Chilean still lingering around as well.” As a result, markets were a little “soft,” but he was hopeful that it would improve within a couple of weeks as buyers from Australia step in and export demand begins to increase.
“As far as Navels are concerned, this warmer weather has helped bring up a little bit of sugar,” Mr. Olsen said. It should, therefore, “eat a little better than we normally see at the beginning of the Navel deal.” Color has been a problem, but with nighttime temperatures expected to get down into the 30s soon, “color should really start to come on.” He expected to start shipping Navels in early November.
The Olsen Co. expected to start Minneolas around the first or second week of December. “We will have some Murcotts around the first part of December as well,” Mr. Olsen said.
“We will probably do a little bit of grapefruit in mid-November through mid-December and then take a break from that,” he said.
In citrus, the Chuck Olsen Co. sells the DiMare deal out of Indio, CA, which runs from around the end of September through February and possibly into March, Mr. Olsen told The Produce News in a previous interview in August. This will be the second season that Olsen has been exclusive sales agent for the DiMare Co. Indio. It will consist principally of lemons, grapefruit, Minneolas, Murcotts and Tango tangerines.
“The overall crop down there this year looks to be a normal size, where last year we were probably 40 to 50 percent off on volume,” he said. Quality “looks very good down there.”
The company’s total volume for the DiMare citrus deal is expected to be around 800,000 boxes, “so it is a decent number in a short period of time,” Mr. Olsen said.
“The DiMare facility in Indio is where we will be doing a lot of cross-docking and consolidating through the winter months to help facilitate trucks that are going down to Yuma to load vegetables,” Mr. Olsen said in the Oct. 18 interview. “That facility is right off of I-10, so it should make for a pretty easy in-and-out” for trucks heading down the I-10. “They don’t have to come up north here” to load.
The Olsen Co. picked up some additional acreage on lemons and Minneolas this year, which will give the company about a 15 percent increase, he said. Also, “we have a pretty large Navel crop. We should have plenty of fruit to get through the winter.”
Labels include “Stage Coach” and “Top Stock,” which are Chuck Olsen Co. labels, as well as “DiMare,” “Grenada” and “Desert Palms.”