California Citrus Market: A Wild Ride

Len WilcoxCalifornia Corner, Market

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It’s been a wild up-and-down season for California citrus, and pandemic shopping waves are making the market even less predictable than usual.

California Citrus Mutual President Casey Creamer spoke about this year’s market. “We’re getting some unpredictable orders and sales,” he said. “And I don’t quite know how this market’s going to shape up, but down in the field, everybody is doing the best they can to stay safe and continue to supply the demand.”

News of Chinese tariff reductions in early March was a break for citrus growers dealing with low prices. However, before exports could increase from that news, parts of the United States started shutting down because of COVID-19 concerns.

Casey Creamer

“You still have a lot of citrus growers out there working extremely hard, a lot of employees out there trying to stay ahead of the curve and protect themselves while dealing with this market,” Creamer said.

Pandemic fears set off another wave of ups and downs for the industry shortly after St. Patricks Day, and Creamer said it has made for a wild ride in 2020.

“We have kind of had a roller-coaster season to this date. Our navel markets were depressed and not looking good, but then when the coronavirus hit, you saw a rush on the stores and saw some increased demand,” Creamer said. “That was a good sign, but now as a new normal is starting to set in, we are getting some unpredictable orders and sales. We don’t quite know how this market is going to shape up.”

Creamer added that growers are trying to remain safe while continuing to produce citrus products for store shelves. “Out in the field, everyone is doing what they can to stay safe and continue to supply retailers with the demand that is needed.”

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Len Wilcox

Correspondent at Large for Citrus Industry Magazine and AgNet West