Mark Clikas, who became president of the Cold Hardy Citrus Association (CHCA) in February, has a recovery focus and sales goal for the group. “My focus is to get the members of CHCA more involved in the organization to help the growers improve the citrus trees’ health after the major freeze event around Christmas 2022,” he said.
“My goal is to improve the association by moving forward to find sales for second-type fruits,” added Clikas, who grows satsumas in Marianna, Florida. What he refers to as second-type or Number 2 fruit is larger fruit that is 3 inches in diameter. He said although that fruit is good and juicy, the grocery or fruit-packing companies “will pay a lot less than what they are willing to pay for Number 1. But for growers, the cost of production and harvesting is the same expense as first-quality fruit.”
“I am eager to listen to any grower, either small, medium or large, that is a member of our association that wants to help improve our marketing or production for the young industry in our area,” Clikas said. “It will take all of us working together to improve the Sweet Valley Citrus region to compete against the gigantic competitors in the fresh fruit industry in the Eastern U.S.”
CHCA members include growers, packers, processors, industry suppliers, nurseries, consultants, homeowners and academia representing Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Clikas was born in Texas “but I have been raised in Marianna since three months of age,” he reported. The University of Florida College of Agriculture graduate has worked for Harrell’s LLC as horticulture territory manager for the past 16 years. He serves commercial plant nurseries from the Florida Panhandle to the southern parts of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Clikas and his wife, Bridget, planted their grove, Clikas Farms, in 2016 after having grown citrus trees for dooryard sales since 2012.
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