VERO BEACH, FL – IMG Citrus, a family-owned, vertically integrated citrus grower, packer, and shipper in Vero Beach, FL, announced the acquisition of a large citrus grove in Charlotte County. The 2,500-acre grove increases their control of citrus land management in Florida by 27%, bringing their total acreage in Florida to 11,387 acres and further securing their position as an established citrus leader in the state of Florida. The grove was originally planted in the 1990s and known as the Chiquita grove. The IMG Citrus family has renamed it the Imagine grove, referencing an existing IMG Citrus brand and their excitement for the opportunities to come in Florida citrus.
The 2,500-acre property IMG Citrus acquired is a mixed-use farm property with citrus, vegetable, and sod land. The varieties of citrus on the property include red grapefruit (Ruby Red, Star, Flame, and Ray), Navel oranges, and Cara Cara oranges. IMG Citrus will be planting an additional 60-acres of grapefruit on the property in Fall 2021 with plans to continue new grove plantings in the future. Over the next three years, IMG Citrus intends to invest over $1.5M in capital expenditure through the addition of equipment and the enhancement of the infrastructure of the property. IMG Citrus is also considering growing watermelons on the property with the available infrastructure.
“There are also a total of 752-acres of wetlands on the property with endless amounts of nature and beautiful wildlife,” says Melanie Ressler, IMG Citrus Co-CEO, “This property showcases what really drives our purpose as a farmer. By sustainably managing producing acres and conserving wetlands, we can grow delicious citrus while also diligently conserving our natural resources.”
The Imagine Grove, located in Charlotte County, increases IMG Citrus’ geographical diversification and footprint in southwest Florida. Prior to the Imagine Grove acquisition, the Avant Grove, a total of 1,086-acres and located in DeSoto County’s Arcadia, was IMG Citrus’ only southwestern Florida grove.
As a diversified company, integrating a landscape business through the sod land on the Imagine Grove property provides an appealing development opportunity for IMG Citrus. 60-acres of sod land are currently in production; however, the company intends to redevelop the sod operation to its full capacity of 219-acres of infrastructure. The sod will most likely be marketed under the Cherrylake brand. Cherrylake, Inc. is IMG Citrus’ sister company and one of the largest wholesale producers of ornamental trees, palms, and shrubs in the Southeast. Cherrylake also has a landscape construction division and landscape maintenance division.
“This property has historically produced very high-quality red grapefruit for which Florida is well known, says Melanie Ressler. “It is exciting to further deepen our offering to our customers and consolidate our position as the leading Florida fresh grapefruit grower.”
The property was acquired from the Packers of Indian River, the same company IMG Citrus previously purchased the Happy Food Grove (3,928-acres) from in 2019 and the Sweet 60 Groves (562-acres) in 2017. The procurement of the Imagine Grove continues the long history and partnership between IMG Citrus and the Packers of Indian River. IMG Citrus will also be onboarding the team of employees, some with 30 years of tenure on the property.
About IMG Citrus:
IMG Citrus is a second-generation citrus grower, packer, marketer, and shipper in Vero Beach, Florida, with over 11,000 acres of productive AGland. Family-owned and operated for over 40 years, IMG Citrus was founded by Michel and Veronique Sallin. Today, a second-generation of family-operators is involved and working alongside the most professional industry leaders that make up the IMG Citrus team. Together, Melanie Ressler, Timothee Sallin, and Chloe Gentry are Co-CEOs of the company, furthering the legacy of their parents’ genuine love for sustainable agriculture and an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels a passion for using the most innovative processes and technologies.
About IMG Enterprises:
IMG Enterprises, the holding company for IMG Citrus and Cherrylake, is a Florida-owned and operated family enterprise with business in citrus, ornamental tree nursery, real estate, mitigation banking, and landscape construction and maintenance. The mission of IMG Enterprises is to manage a sustainable enterprise rooted in the land which benefits its family, employees, and community while having a positive impact on the environment. With over 500 employees, the company ranks 37th on the list of Top Privately Held Companies by the Orlando Business Journal.
The USDA sees in it latest estimate Florida citrus remaining on schedule to ship 46 million boxes this season….Meanwhile Vidalia onions are in the ground for the season starting in April.
That estimate is a 33 percent plunge from the 2016-17 shipping season, but is unchanged from the December estimate, a first for this season.
The Florida citrus industry took a hammering from Hurricane Irma, which stripped fruit from trees and also stressed many to the point that growers expected increased fruit drop would happen throughout the season. Some trees were uprooted entirely, and others were damaged by standing water in the days after the storm.
The USDA estimate calls for 19 million boxes of early, midseason and navel varieties (down 42 percent from 2016-17) and 27 million boxes of valencias (down 24 percent).
Florida continues to face its lowest citrus forecast in more than 75 years.
Florida’s famous citrus industry and its growers continue to struggle with the unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Irma and this damage, combined with the cumulative impacts of citrus greening, leaves Florida’s growers in desperate need of government support. Industry officials continue to work with Florida Governor Rick Scott and leaders in Washington to get Florida’s growers the relief they need to rebuild and replant.
The USDA estimate for California citrus was also unchanged from December, with the state projected to ship 35 million boxes of navel oranges and 11 million boxes of valencias. Texas is expected to ship 1.83 million boxes of oranges, up 11 percent from last month’s forecast and up 34 percent from the 2016-17 season.
Florida citrus – grossing about $3200 to New York City.
The Vidalia onion district in Southeastern Georgia accounts for about 22 percent of the total sweet onion shipments in the United States. The product is in the ground and should be available for loading in April. Georgia cold and even freezing weather can be okay with planted onions in the ground, as long is the temperature doesn’t plunge to low for too many hours. There will be more information in the coming weeks.
Imported Chilean blueberries begin arriving this month. Meanwhile, citrus imports from Mexico and Brazil are expected to fill a void of available Florida citrus this season.
Chilean blueberry production is down slightly from last season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer berries arriving by boat at U.S. ports. The South American country is the largest producer of blueberries in the Southern Hemisphere, exporting a total of 103,000 tons in 2016-17. Of that amount, 65.7 percent, or 67,707 ton was exported to North America, which is the largest global market of Chilean “blues.”
For the 2017-18 shipping season, Chile’s fresh export volume is predicted to be at 101,700 tons.
Chilean blueberry shipments should be back on schedule this year, with the peak season running from mid-December through February. The country had an unusally early start in 2016.
Shipments on ocean vessels should begin in late November, and ramping up in December.
Early arrivals are shipped by air because of the lack of fruit volume to fill the large shipping containers used by ocean-going vessels.
The majority of oranges imported to Florida arrive from Brazil and Mexico, and that total volume is projected to surpass what is grown in the hurricane-damaged Sunshine State this season.
Last season, Brazil has accounted for 46 percent of the state’s orange imports, followed by 44 percent from Mexico. Costa Rica and Belize are among the other countries supplying citrus. Most grapefruit imported into Florida comes from California and Texas.
The Florida Citrus Commission has approved an adjusted $17.8 million budget that takes into account an increase in imports that will help cover crops lost in September to Hurricane Irma.
The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has projected a preliminary $2.5 billion impact to Florida’s agriculture industry from Irma, with estimated losses to the citrus industry at $761 million.
Even before Irma, the industry had suffered steady declines in production because of deadly citrus-greening disease.
The Florida Department of Citrus projects its revenue will come from nearly 59.3 million boxes of Florida citrus and 65 million boxes of imports.
Oranges will account for 53.7 million of the taxed boxes from Florida and 63.95 million of the imported boxes.
While Salinas Valley veggie shipments have been hindered due to weather related issues, it may pale in comparison to Florida oranges after Hurricane Irma. Also, imported Japanese persimmons to be become a reality.
Salinas Valley vegetable shipments leading up to Labor Day were paired back because of hot weather and the effects are still being felt nearly two weeks later. When the temperature surpasses 90 degrees F. it becomes to hot for field workers, not to mention quality issues come into focus. The result has been lighter-than-normal loadings of leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower. Caution is urged when loading, as produce haulers should look for potential heat related quality problems.
Florida Citrus vs. Irma
The wrath of Hurricane Irma is bound to be bad news for Florida citrus, especially orange that already is reeling from declining production due to citrus greening. Florida accounts for 56 percent of U.S. citrus production and is the number one state for oranges, although the vast majority goes for processing. Still, we’re talking about Florida’s total production for oranges in 2015 was valued at $1.17 billion.
Other top produce crops threatened by Irma are tomatoes, and green beans, although neither are in peak season. Severe citrus crop losses seen for product exposed to hurricane force winds exceeding 85 mph.
by USDA APHIS
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule allowing the importation of fresh persimmon with calyxes (a plant part protecting the flower) from Japan.
APHIS scientists prepared a pest risk analysis and determined that commercial shipments of persimmons with calyxes produced under a systems approach can safely be imported into the continental United States. The systems approach includes requirements for packing house registration, orchard monitoring and control of pests, fruit culling, biometric sampling, a phytosanitary certificate with additional declaration, port of entry inspection and traceback. These measures will protect our country against the introduction of plant pests.
Florida is pretty dead for produce shipments this time of year, but a faint “pulse” will be found with new season citrus. Nogales is another dead spot, but here’s a preview of when it is expected to come to life. Finally, Mexican avocado loads through South Texas are coming back, joining a number of other produce items.
Florida’s Indian River citrus harvest has just started, making it 10 days to two weeks later than normal due to excessive rains, that were compounded by the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. Matthew dumped up to seven inches of rain on the region, but the brunt of the storm was further north. While Vero Beach sustained 70 mph-80 mph winds, wind speeds hit 50 mph-60 mph in the groves. In Central Florida, harvesting started about a week earlier than Indian River. Florida citrus really dodged a bullet and in the weeks ahead normal shipments are seen.
Nogales Produce Shipments
This is one of the slowest times of the year for Mexican produce crossing into Nogales, AZ for distribution to U.S. and Canadian markets. The next big volumes will occur from January through March. A second, but smaller surge typically takes place from mid-April through June. Tomatoes have historically led produce shipments through Nogales from Mexico, but watermelon volume has increased to the point it could over take tomatoes. Other big volume items range from squash to peppers and many other winter vegetables. A significant factor in the growth and popularity of Mexican grown produce is due to many California farming operations investing and marketing produce from south of the border. They see lower production and labor costs with fewer stifling rules and regulations, which continue to come with doing business in California….Kind of sounds like trucking in California, doesn’t it.
Mexican Avocado Shipments
A projected 40 million pounds of avocados were expected to be shipped to the U.S. for the week ending October 21st. Mexican volume, entering the U.S. primarily through South Texas, had fallen sharply to 13.7 million the week of Oct. 10 – 14.
There had been a strike by Mexican workers with the primary issue revolving around sales negotiations between the growers and packers. The dispute apparently has been resolved.
Mexican tropical fruit, tomatoes and vegetable shipments through South Texas – grossing about $2100 to Chicago.
by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released the following statement recently after the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its citrus crop forecast for the 2015-2016 season:
“Today’s updated citrus forecast reflects a nearly 70 percent decline in the production of our state’s signature crop since the late 1990s. The long-term future of Florida citrus, and its $10 billion annual economic impact, depends on a breakthrough in the fight against greening.”
The USDA’s forecast of 76 million boxes of oranges, up from 71 million boxes last month, represents a decline of nearly 70 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season.
This past legislative session, Commissioner Putnam helped secure more than $24 million in state funding to continue critical research and support Florida’s citrus industry.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.
by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Following the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first citrus crop forecast for the 2015-2016 season, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam released this statement:
“On the heels of the smallest orange crop in nearly 50 years last season, this initial citrus crop estimate confirms that Florida’s citrus industry is in a fight for its life. The health of Florida citrus is important to every Floridian – not just those who depend on it for their livelihoods. We will continue to fight to save the industry, its more than $10.7 billion economic impact and the more than 64,000 jobs it supports.”
Commissioner Adam H. Putnam has requested $18,700,000 from the Florida Legislature this year to support critical research, grow clean citrus stock, remove and replant diseased trees and more.
The USDA’s initial forecast of 80 million boxes of oranges, weighing 90 pounds each, is down 17 percent from last year season. This represents a decline of more than 67 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-1998 season.
If you’re planning to haul New Jersey produce be extra cautious and know what you are loading when it comes to quality. Tomato and potato crops are being threatened by late blight.
It is a destructive fast-spreading disease and has been found on five farms in the state. The disease of Irish potato famine notoriety, creates fuzzy spores and dark lesions on leaves and stems of tomatoes and potatoes and quickly kills the entire plant.
Meanwhile, no quality problems have been reported with New Jersey peaches, which are now being shipped to destinations on the East Coast and some to the midwest.
New Jersey blueberry shipments have been going at a good, steady pace and should continue into mid August. The only distruptions have been a few occasions when rain has delayed harvest, which in turns affects packing and shipping.
A fair amount of Maine broccoli is being shipped between now and mid October. Up to a million cartons should be loaded during the season for destinations along the East coast and into the midwest.
Florida is pretty dead this time of year when comes to loads. A quick look back at the Florida citrus shipping season shows it was a little disppointing. There were fewer loads of oranges, grapefruit and a lot less tangerines.
In its July 11 final season report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported all orange production declining 9% from the previous season, and tangerines saw a 22% drop.
This season, total orange production fell from 146.7 million equivalent cartons to 133.4 million cartons, with the late season valencias also seeing a 9% drop from last season’s 72.5 million cartons to 68.3 million cartons this year.
Grapefruit production fell 2.2% from the previous year, from 18.8 million equivalent cartons to 18.4 million cartons.
Though 96% of Florida’s oranges are grown for processing, about 60% of its navels, 70% of its tangerines and 40% of its colored grapefruit ship to fresh markets, primarily by truck.