Bee Sweet Citrus' Randy Stucky Discusses Citrus Crops and Storm Effects
FOWLER, CA - If the fresh produce industry had a middle name, it would be resiliency. As growers in California have faced several weeks of heavy rainstorms and winds, they are using their prowess to continue chugging along to ensure product gets to retailers. Of those suppliers is Bee Sweet Citrus, who, although facing these difficulties, has knuckled down to get ahead.
“Overall, we’re about a third of the way through our season,” explains Randy Stucky, Director of Harvesting and Grower Relations. "We’ve had about three weeks of storms that have prevented us from picking a few days each week. That makes it challenging to stay ahead of the crop, but we’ve increased picks when we can, which has helped put us in a manageable position once we get a dry stretch. After this week’s storms, it looks like we’ll finally have a couple of weeks of dry weather.”
Currently, Bee Sweet is finishing up in the desert region and is shifting its focus to harvesting more in California’s Central Valley while it waits for its other growing areas to dry out.
From these harvests, the supplier is reporting excellent quality and packouts for this time of the year. Sizing has trended larger for lemons and slightly smaller for Navel oranges, but that has been improving over the past few weeks. As Randy tells me, volumes have been manageable across all crops, and Bee Sweet is working to keep up with demand due to the days it was rained out.
“Once we can get back to a normal picking schedule, I expect there to be many lemons on the market as people try to catch up with missed picks and get back ahead of the crop,” Randy says. “Other varieties should be okay as we’ve been able to mix them in during the wet weather. Also, we’ll need to monitor how the fruit reacts to so much rain and other weather events in such a short period.”
For buyers, Bee Sweet is encouraging them to keep an eye on weather conditions to predict supply. Moving forward, though, the grower’s citrus is at its peak, with high sugars, so it is an excellent time to promote the category. Not to mention, Bee Sweet offers a multitude of varieties such as Blood oranges, Minneolas, Cara Caras, and more, meaning there is something for every shopper’s needs and tastes.
As it's said, there are no rainbows without rain, and Bee Sweet focuses on that silver lining. Reach out to a sales rep today to share in the grower’s positivity and quality citrus.