An Underrated Warm Weather Treat
Over the next several months, particularly as we move closer to the summer season, the lure of the luscious summertime fruits are inescapable: peaches, plums, nectarines, grapes, berries, and melons - it's a lineup that all fruit lovers look forward to. After coming off the autumn and winter seasons, where apples, pears, and citrus take center stage, the summer season fruits can seem exotic in comparison. However, it just may be that the finest summer fruit of all is actually in the citrus family. Valencia Oranges (although not typically lumped in with the summer soft fruits) will often have some of the best flavor and highest juice content of any fruit that you enjoy during the late spring and early summer season.
Although the California Valencia season technically runs February through October, the upcoming months of May - June - July are when this fruit is really peaking. The Valencia is easily as sweet as the navel orange, and features a higher juice content and a thinner skin. The Valencia has virtually no seeds, although it’s not uncommon for nature to sneak in a few on occasion. The conventional wisdom is that you can expect anywhere from zero to 6 seeds per fruit. Even when they are deliciously sweet and completely ripe, Valencia oranges may occasionally "re-green" in warm weather. But don't let this color shift fool you into thinking the orange is not ready to eat. When the fruit ripens on the tree, it turns a bright orange color, as we typically expect. But the warm temperatures of the season may make the skin reabsorb chlorophyll as it hangs on the tree, causing a ripe orange to look partly green. Often the "re-greened" oranges are actually a bit sweeter as the warmer temperatures elevate the fruit sugar content in the orange, making for an even sweeter tasting fruit.
No doubt, your soft fruit and melon display should be the feature display throughout the summer months, but it's important to keep in mind that Valencia oranges are also a key fruit for much of the summer, and they too should have a strong presence in your merchandising efforts. They work very well as part of your avocado, lemon, and tomato display, and if you place the Valencia’s next to the avocados (or even next to the bright red tomatoes), the color differential works very well.
Promote the traditional fruits of summer, as you no doubt will, as we enter into May and June. But, there is only one orange variety available during the summer months, and while we may think of citrus as belonging to the cooler season, it would be a huge oversight not to give this very delicious and sweet treat a healthy spot in your fruit display, even with the approach of the warmer months. To help with your promotion, we have provided a Valencia orange sign that lets your customers know that this is the peak time for this fruit. You can download the sign by Clicking Here or on the image above.