The Chuck Olsen Co. in Visalia, CA, has a new citrus marketing deal for this fall and the coming winter and spring, according to said Jeff Olsen, vice president. The company is now selling citrus from The DiMare Co., Indio, which is headquartered in Indio, CA, located in the Coachella Valley.
That deal will consist of lemons, Minneolas, Fairchilds, Murcotts and grapefruit as well as a few oranges. “We are just starting” and will continue through June, he said Oct. 12. “We will have our second day of packing [October 13]” on lemons, and that will continue “until February or so,” he said. Mr. Olsen expected Fairchilds to start about the first of November, Murcotts around the middle of November and Minneolas toward the end of November. “The grapefruit will probably start somewhere around February or March and carry probably into June,” he said. The start dates are all around three weeks to a month later than normal.
The crop in the Coachella Valley is considerably “lighter than normal” due to frost last winter, Mr. Olsen said. Overall, it appears to be off by 30-40 percent, “but in some areas, it is a 60-100 percent loss, so it is very sporadic. It depends on the ranch.” In certain areas, “there are some terrible losses,” but in other areas it is “not quite so bad.”
Overall, the quality looks good, he said. “The fruit looks really nice.” The lemons are “nice and typey,” without overly-rough skins, and they have “good juice content.” There is “a little bit of wind scar,” but they are “nice lemons.”
Although the crop size has been reduced, the acreage and variety mix for the DiMare citrus program is about the same this year as DiMare has had in the past, Mr. Olsen said. But “there is a fair amount of young trees in the ground,” particularly in lemons and Murcotts, which will mean volume increases in future seasons.
The Chuck Olsen Co. expects to bring some Navel oranges from the San Joaquin Valley down to the DiMare facility in Indio for consolidation this fall and winter, “to load with the lemons,” and vice-versa, Mr. Olsen said. “We do have a couple of [Navel] growers up here in Central California, so we will use some of that” and may also be buying some Navels in Central California to take down to Indio for consolidation.
Also, “we will be doing some consolidating down there of other commodities as well,” he said. One of those commodities likely will be Chilean grapes. “We are probably going to have a little Chilean grape deal, so we will take some Chilean grapes down there.”
The DiMare facility is right off of the I-10 freeway, making it convenient for trucks to load, he said. Once the winter vegetable deal in Yuma gets going around mid-November, there will be “a lot of truck traffic heading down into that area.”