With the official transition into Winter, we welcome another joyous occasion: citrus season! While some citrus varieties are available year-round, in North America most citrus ripen to their sweetest and juiciest during the winter months.
Citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and many other essential vitamins, including vitamin C. Some fruits like grapefruit and Navel oranges contain nearly a full day’s recommended serving of vitamin C.
As with most winter events, it’s best to be prepared. Check out our Citrus Information Page with everything you need to know about sourcing and selling citrus this season. Don’t forget to view our Citrus Guide, which provides a breakdown of the different citrus varieties you’ll see over the next few months.
We have a lot of new citrus coming in every week. Check back with your Account Manager to make sure you’re up to date on the latest citrus as it becomes available.
Fun citrus fact: the color orange is named after the fruit. Before the arrival of oranges in Europe, most Old English speakers called orange things geoluhread, or “yellow-red.”
Winter Citrus Merchandising
The winter season is here, which means it’s time to pack your department with the most celebrated seasonal product – citrus! Here are a few ways to keep the displays interesting and your product moving.
Make your displays stand out. Citrus can add color contrast all over your department. Display it with asparagus, greens and potatoes to create a fun and exciting shopping experience. Buddha’s Hand Citron is the perfect conversation starter, and the zest can be used to flavor many dishes and beverages. Other unusual citrus that can add novelty to your produce display include kumquats, finger limes and pomelos.
Cross-Merchandise. Navel and Valencia oranges are in high demand, and used for eating fresh, cooking, and juicing. Try adding citrus juicers and citrus-centric cookbooks to your large citrus displays to encourage and inspire usage.
Color Break. Even though lemons and limes tend to be available year-round, these are great to use as color breaks in your sea of orange citrus displays. There are a few different varieties available to help break up the orange like Meyer Lemon, Makrut Lime, Variegated Pink Lime, and Sweet Lime.
Shelf Talkers. ‘Shelf talkers’ are useful to draw attention to produce, especially when you need to move something out. They may also give shoppers ideas for how to use an item that they hadn’t thought of before. Check out these Citrus Shelf Talkers, which feature 10 citrus varieties from B&J Ranch.
Grab & Go. Encourage impulse buys by having pre-bagged Satsuma Tangerines available, ready to go. And 5lb gift boxes are perfect for mailing and bringing to holiday feast events.
Recent snowstorms in Washington may lead to challenges for trucking and sourcing apples and pears over the next couple weeks.
Colder than expected temperatures in California continue to impact production on celery and other leafy greens. Coachella and the Imperial Valley (California desert regions) have experienced nightly frosts creating nation-wide havoc in the lettuce market. Romaine is particularly vulnerable to ‘epidermal blistering’ (brown spotting & peeling) caused by severe cold.
The huge winter blizzard hitting the central part of the country around Dec 22nd will result in disturbed transport and access to food for many people. As infrastructure shuts down, this may result in oversupply of fresh produce harvested on the West Coast, anywhere from Mexico to Oregon. Hopefully recovery will be quick; stand by for updates.
New and Exciting
Blood Orange: The first Blood oranges of the season have arrived! Early tasting reports deep color and a good flavor.
Fun Fact: Anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, gives the Blood orange its distinct maroon color.
Chili Pepper: Cherry Bomb peppers will arrive this week! These cherry tomato hybrids are medium to low heat (2,500-5,000 Scoville units), making them a good alternative to jalapenos – also terrific stuffed or pickled.
* Evercrisp Apple (Left): Sweet, juicy, & crisp, the Evercrisp apple combines the best features of its parent varieties – Honeycrisp and Fuji. Stores well and maintains sweetness and firmness longer than other varieties. Does it live up to its name? Order some and find out!
Fuerte Avocado: Solstice surprise! The California-grown green-skin Fuerte is coming on earlier than usual. Considered by avocado-lovers to be the best tasting variety, particularly from older trees, the creamy flesh is rich and delicious. The fruit we offer from Eco Farms is harvested from trees that are over 100 years old!
Fun Fact: Fuerte gets its name because this variety can survive cold winters; ‘fuerte’ means ‘strong’ in Spanish.
Kumquat: Meiwa and Nagami coming on soon in very limited quantities.
Mixed Heirloom Tomato: Boost your winter tomato program with our mixed medley pack from Ram’s Farm, an exclusive VV grower. Ram’s is known for their high quality and consistent flavor. Varieties in the pack may include Pink Brandywine, Black from Tula, Kellogg’s Breakfast and Ananas. Some varieties may arrive green, but color up beautifully.
* Tangerine (Right):
- Dancy tangerine: Beautiful red-hued flesh; delicious flavor with hints of spice. Very sweet; one of the oldest known tangerines, developed in Florida.
- Minneola Tangerine: This variety’s unique bell shape earned it the nickname Honeybell. Perfect balance of sweet and tart; very juicy with a dense texture.
- Orlando Tangelo: Wonderful, sweet-tart flavor; super juicy. A cross between a Duncan grapefruit and Darcy Mandarin. Easy to peel with very few seeds.
- Stem & Leaf Satsuma: Juicy, sweet & delicious; the added foliage makes for a stunning citrus display.
* California-Grown Avocado: Delicious deals on California-grown Bacon avocados. The texture is buttery and creamy, less oily than the Hass, but with a unique nutty flavor
Fun Fact: Bacon Avocados are named after James Bacon, who first bred them in 1954. Sadly, there is not yet a bacon-flavored avocado, as the name might suggest.
Cranberry: Great pricing on 8oz Cranberries. Thanksgiving may be over, but we still need some cranberries in our life. Use for pies & baked goods or muddle into cranberry holiday mocktails and sparkling beverages.
Cosmic Crisp Apple: It took 20 years of research and study for Washington State University to breed the Cosmic Crisp apple, and we get to reap the delicious rewards! Look for deals on the 88 size Cosmic Crisp Apple!
Garnet #1 Sweet Potato: Sweet with a savory earthiness, Garnets are good for baking, casseroles, and mashing. Solid pricing and supply! Check out our Sweet Potato Page for lots of resources and info.
Pepper: Prices just dropped on Red Bells and Sweet Peppers. Jalapenos have excellent volume available.
Rambutan: Looking for a unique item to spruce up your winter produce displays? Rambutans are here to save the day! With a fun “pokey” look and a mild sweet lychee-like flavor, this tropical treat will make heads turn. The shell-like hull gets brittle, but the fruit is sweeter when ripe. Watch out for the pit inside.
Red D’Anjou Pear: Don’t miss our deals on the 110 size pears. The striking red skin is useful for making color variations in your displays.
* Romaine Hearts (Right): Volume-deals available! Crisp & refreshing; durable variety. Perfect for wintery salad mixes and deli departments.
Satsuma Tangerine: Sweet, seedless, and easy to peel. You can’t go wrong with this citrus favorite.
Yellow Onion: Competitive pricing and strong supply on this year-round staple.
Cauliflower: Limited, costs remain high
Celery: Limited, costs remain high
Cucumber: Persians are gapping. English Hot House are becoming limited, and prices are up.
Done for the Season
Green & Red seedless Grape (domestic) Peruvian imports expected soon.
Robin’s Nest Granny Smith Apple