Bee Sweet Citrus' Jason Sadoian Talks Citrus Market and Supply Chain Challenges
FOWLER, CA - When I went to elementary school, Mandarins were the must-have lunchbox treat. If you don’t believe me, kids in my grade used them as bartering chips! Perhaps all of us were aspiring produce buyers and knew the value of a strong citrus program.
As citrus continues to drive sales at retail, I caught up with Bee Sweet Citrus’ Jason Sadoian to see how the grower is holding up under this demand.
“The current citrus crop estimates are starting to trickle in, and we’re double checking things from a farming perspective to be as accurate as possible for our crop this season. Certain items look to be about the same as last year in terms of volume and some look to be less. Weather wise, we’re hoping the temperatures will cool off in September to position our fruit harvest to start on time,” the Sales Representative explained.
The market itself differs from coast to coast, Jason noted, before diving into the differences.
“It all depends on what coast you’re referring to on imported citrus,” he commented. “The lemon market is steady on the West Coast, but in flux on the East Coast. Navel orange and mandarin markets are both strong—the port delays are driving that at the moment. We have plenty of supplies coming or on board vessels; we just need help at the port getting off-loaded in a timely manner.”
The port situation ties into an overarching issue for the industry, as many producers are seeing challenges tied to pricing and freight.
“Some pricing is up and some is down depending on the commodity, but the biggest difference this season as opposed to other years is the cost for freight,” Jason expressed. “With rising gas prices and a labor shortage in the trucking world, the cost for transportation is through the roof.”
However, as Jason assured me, Bee Sweet Citrus is a solutions-driven company ready to help its customers in any way it can, no matter the challenges it faces.
“For buyers, it’s helpful for us to have lead time when ordering, which allows us to better coordinate harvest all the way down to the packing line,” Jason concluded.
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