“Our clementines have been in harvesting stage for the last 10 days. We’re looking at shipping this week,” says Mario Masellis of Catania in Mississauga, Ontario. “The crop quality and size are looking really good—Brix levels are between 10-11.5 and acids are .9-.1.1 which are really perfect conditions.”

Clementines from South Africa ship into the region all the way through October. This year, there’s a slight pick up in supplies. “The regular clementines are up this year from last year—probably eight to nine percent,” says Masellis. “Plantings were not substantially higher but they were a little higher. We just seem to have better growing conditions—a little less rain.”

Competing with South African fruit are imports from Argentina and Chile. “Sometimes retailers will stick to one region for supplies because they’ve had success in the past,” says Masellis.

For citrus, change though seems to be happening on the documentation front regarding imports. “Food safety and documentation on the harvest crew, pack house and shipping levels are requiring more documentation and have many more restrictions on certain pesticides into certain markets,” says Masellis. “Europe is almost at a zero tolerance level on citrus and that’s causing a strain on certain growers to be much more diligent on their spray regiment. Europe is leading the charge but I think it’s a matter of time before minimum residue levels on certain fruits in Canada are under scrutiny.”

Meanwhile demand for clementines is average. “Until the weather really breaks, there’s really no huge demand for anything unfortunately,” says Masellis. “Last year we had demand a little earlier because the weather broke earlier.” That puts pricing at a relatively stable level and similar to last year’s prices. Looking ahead, Masellis anticipates its first arrivals of both clementines and mandarins to come in in the next three weeks. “And hopefully the weather will break and demand will be up and they’ll have a new category up and running in the supermarkets,” says Masellis. – freshplaza.com