Grower Likes UF Mandarin Varieties

Ernie NeffVarieties

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Michel Sallin checks out a new grapefruit.

Dozens of Florida citrus growers and other industry members sampled new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus varieties Nov. 14. The samplers tasted many pieces of fruit as well as some juice from new fruit at the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred.

Those participating in the sampling carried clipboards with lists of the juices and new varieties. They scored the fruit and juices on a variety of characteristics. Their scores and comments will help researchers from the UF/IFAS Plant Improvement Team decide which new varieties will move forward for release to the citrus industry.  

Michel Sallin, a grower and fresh fruit packer with IMG Citrus, focused on the fresh fruit. “We have such very good grapefruit already — the Ruby Red or the White Marsh or the Star Ruby … It’s very difficult to beat what we have.”

For mandarins, Sallin says he likes Bingo and Marathon. “We (IMG) have some Bingo in the ground. Our first crop will be next year,” he says.

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Of the sampling by growers and others, Sallin says, “I think it’s important and I hope this testing is done at the consumer level … I hope the consumers can give their input.”

Sallin concludes with some general comments about the state of the citrus industry. “We have survived in this environment,” he says. “We are making progress every year, and I am still very optimistic.”

Numerous CREC staff members were on hand to help those sampling fruit and juice. Among the researchers in attendance were UF/IFAS citrus breeders Fred Gmitter and Jude Grosser.

Another UF/IFAS new varieties sampling event will be held at the CREC on Dec. 10 at 10 a.m.

Hear more from Sallin:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large