Sam Jones is the senior manager of domestic citrus operations for Duda Farm Fresh Foods, headquartered in Oviedo, FL. He said that the Florida citrus season started about two weeks later than last season.
“We are very pleased with the quality and color of the citrus fruits,” said Jones. “We have been challenged this early season with the small size structure of grapefruit and tangerines.”
Overall, Jones said that shipments are down from last season due to a later start, which translates into a later-maturing crop.
“Our go-to-market position has been strong,” he pointed out. “We have not had any supply gaps. Duda Farm Fresh Foods will finish the Sunburst tangerine season in mid-December with a smooth transition to Honey tangerines.
“I would like to see some more seasonably cooler nights to continue helping the natural color of the fresh citrus,” he continued. “Duda Farm Fresh Foods’ ‘Dandy’ brand continues to be our flagship brand for our fresh Florida citrus program.”
Duda Farm Fresh continues to be an industry leader on research and development with a comprehensive disease-scouting program. The company has a long agricultural history of integrated pest management, and it continually updates and improves its best business practices.
The company is also highly vigilant of the canker and greening pressures, and its infestation rates are below most industry averages.
Jones said that customers for the Duda Farm Fresh Foods Florida citrus program’s clients are comprised of a range of retail chain stores and foodservice businesses, with retail business representing the majority of its business.
“We have seen growth in all segments of our business this season,” he said. “The majority of our fresh fruit is shipped throughout the southeast part of the country as well as up the Atlantic coastline and into portions of the central part of the United States. Our Florida citrus is also exported to Europe, Japan and Taiwan.”
Duda Farm Fresh Foods got its start when, in 1909, Andrew Duda left his homeland in Europe’s Austro-Hungarian Empire and set his sights west to the U.S. to pursue the American Dream. He joined fellow Lutheran Slovak immigrants to establish a small farming community in central Florida.
Today Duda Farm Fresh Foods is leading nationwide grower, shipper and marketer of an extensive line of high-quality fresh fruits, fresh and fresh-cut vegetables.