An early Valencia hybrid called Juvalle will be arriving in the UK from South Africa this season for the first time in commercial quantities, according to Capespan trading director Martin Dunnett.
“We expect to import up to 30,000 cartons in early July, and are hopeful that it will make a premium,” he said.
The SA orange season is under way, following on the heels of easy peelers. Dunnett said Navels would start to peak in mid-June and continue until mid-August, with Capespan’s own volumes reaching around one million cartons.
SA has benefited from rising grapefruit prices because of the shortage of fruit from Florida. At present, wholesale prices are £2-£3 higher than in 2004, with Marsh Seedless making £9.50 to £10.50/carton, and pigmented varieties reaching £11.
The shortage has been so great that Capespan has received enquires about the possibility of flying fruit in, said Dunnett.
SA’s total citrus crop is forecast to reach 70 million cartons this season, 10% up on last season.