SA Western Cape navel shipments to the U.S. set to climb -

SA Western Cape navel shipments to the U.S. set to climb

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SA Western Cape navel shipments to the U.S. set to climb

South Africa's first shipments of navel oranges arrived in the U.S. port of Philadelphia last week with exports from Cape Town stepping up from next week.

Three container vessels with clementines, and some navel oranges, left Cape Town last month taking 24 days to arrive. Shipments are arriving every 10 days to ensure there are no gaps in the market.

Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum’s (WCCPF) CEO Suhanra Conradie, said citrus quality was excellent this season with high brix levels, which should appeal to U.S. consumers.

"Like all products of nature, the South African summer citrus is reliant on weather conditions to develop its delicious sweet and juicy taste. This year we had a hot summer to develop the flavor of the fruit and cold conditions to brighten the color."

The forum is expecting orange exports of navels, cara cara and midknights to the U.S. to increase significantly on 2011 shipments of 2.43 million (15 kilogram) cartons.

Clementine exports are also expected to be up on 2011's figures of 262,215 cartons, which were lower than 2010's shipments.

"Only the best citrus comes to the U.S. because it meets and exceeds the extraordinary high standards set by the U.S. regulations," said Conradie.

"It is a source of considerable pride to everyone here, that begins with the growers, that we are able to meet and exceed the U.S. standards. It is a very tough program and only just over 300 growers in South Africa can meet those standards," said Conradie.

Tastings are currently being organized across a range of U.S. retailers including Sam’s Club, Walmart, Costco, Target, Kroger, Supervalu, Acme, Shaw's, Whole Foods, Wegmans and Meijer.

WCCPF spokesperson Lisa Packer, said growers were also visiting selected stores giving shoppers the chance to find out more about the fruit.

"It is in direct response to consumer demand to know more about where their food comes from. And consumers enjoy meeting those growers who love talking about their fruit."

The forum is producing supermarket recipe brochures, bearing the Summer Citrus brand, for breakfasts, lunches and dinners plus snacks and beverages as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

It is also launching a U.S. youth soccer award honoring eight youth soccer players from across the U.S. with prizes of up to US$250.

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