By John Vena Inc.
PHILADELPHIA – As mandarin production in California starts to slow for the season, shipments of premium-quality Israeli fruit have just begun to arrive on the East Coast for the U.S. market.
The primary Israeli mandarin export is the Orri, a hybrid developed specifically to maintain flavor and integrity through the international supply chain. The first containers of the season arrived to specialty produce importer and wholesaler John Vena Inc. (JVI) in Philadelphia at the end of January.
“We’re very pleased with the quality of our first containers. The fruit is already eating better than any other citrus I have had in recent memory, and I have been handling Orri in particular for some years – more or less since the variety’s notoriety began to spill over from Europe,” reports JVI president John Vena. “We’ve already been getting brix readings as high as 14. Luckily for anyone who loves citrus, shipments are anticipated to continue through May.”
This year was particularly unusual for members of JVI’s grower partner, Granot, a cooperative of 45 agricultural kibbutzim that has roots going back to the early 1940s. For reasons not yet understood, fruit across the country matured much more rapidly than anticipated, leading to a good supply of large fruit early in the season unlike any ever seen. The cooperative was packing fruit as early as mid-December, several weeks prior than projections estimated, and production saw record volumes of larger sizing with limited medium and small fruit in direct contradiction to the bell curve that typically characterizes the harvest.
Despite the atypical start, growers expect a particularly strong Orri crop for 2019 with consistent volumes and excellent quality. Smaller fruit has already begun to arrive and ratios are expected to normalize in the coming weeks, although large fruit packed in a bulk 10-kilogram value case, which is often favored in the ethnic retail segment, is anticipated to remain abundant for the season.
About John Vena Inc.
Established in 1919, John Vena Inc. (JVI) is a fourth-generation, family-owned and -operated specialty produce importer, wholesaler, and distributor providing a full suite of services including custom packing, program ripening, and logistics. JVI handles a wide range of specialty items for foodservice, retail, and processing, including fresh herbs, greenhouse vegetables, gourmet foods, tropical fruits, ethnic produce, wild edibles, microgreens, edible flowers, and baby vegetables.