Mexico Citrus

South of the Border, They Drink Their Oranges

In the US, as in Mexico (and the rest of the world) what region and the climatic conditions of that region can make a significant difference in the properties of the oranges grown. Even the exact same variety, grown in two different locales, will make the appearance, flavor, and juice content of each orange vary from region to region. Likewise, orange consumption customs vary also: The Mexicans “drink” their oranges and hand-squeeze the fruit daily; in California, oranges are grown primarily to be eaten as fresh fruit; in Florida oranges are primarily produced to be processed into concentrated and Not-From-Concentrate (NFC) orange juices to be sold as 100% orange juice as well as used for orange juice blends and smoothies.


Looks Don’t Matter

The US shopper has developed very discerning preferences on the oranges they consume. For those who squeeze their own orange juice the outer appearance of the “juice” oranges (usually Valencias) is not so important. In fact the cosmetic appearance of the orange is not indicative of the contents. In Mexico most of the oranges are grown in semi-tropical areas. The higher humidity affects the attractiveness of the peel but the juice is delicious.


Looks Do Matter

The Mediterranean type of drier semi-desert climate in California is world renown for growing the most beautiful citrus fruit- the Navel Orange. Many are not aware that Mexico has a region that also grows oranges that are beautiful. In the state of Sonora, Mexico, in the Sonoran desert directly south of Arizona, the climatic conditions allow for oranges to be quit aesthetically pleasing to the eye with very good interior qualities. The growing conditions in Sonora are very similar to the citrus growing areas in Arizona and the Coachella Valley of California. 


Mexico Doesn’t Share Well?

Many people are not aware of this growing area or the quality of the fruit because Mexico consumes most of the citrus it produces itself. As per the January 2014 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report, Citrus: World Markets and Trade,Mexico’s production is forecast at 3.9 million tons, down 100,000 tons. With an increase in fresh consumption, fruit for processing fell as prices for domestic fresh oranges are competitive. Mexico’s trade for fresh oranges is negligible.” For the most part, only during periods of extreme conditions in the US that have decreased the normal orange supply are Mexico oranges imported.


But Sunburst Oranges is Ready!

Sunburst’s owners and its constituents have been closely associated with the growers and packinghouse owners and operators in Mexico for over twenty-six years. We have developed many friends and outstanding relationships. In particular, German Nenninger, a citrus and grape grower, packer and shipper, has been part our family since our start in Mexico. His agricultural operation based outside Hermosillo, in the state of Sonora, named “Agropecuria San Alberto” is featured in these slideshows. Please take a moment to “take a visit” to Sonoran agriculture. 


The Weather Sensitive Lime

Limes are grown in most of the semi-tropic areas of Mexico. Limes are the most susceptible of all the citrus fruits to cold weather. In the US, only small amounts of limes are grown in ‘micro-climates’, which are small pocket regions with different weather patterns than the general surrounding area. Sometimes these areas will be referred to as “Banana Belts”.


The Many Uses of Limes

The Lime is usually referred to in Mexico as the ‘Limón’ and, as with all Latin American countries, the ‘Limón’, is served and eaten with most all Mexican dishes. Sunburst will be featuring the many uses of limes in its upcoming newsletter. Click here to sign up to receive your copy for some interesting ideas. 


Truly Lemons

Although the Mexicans prefer the flavor of the lime, and the humidity of most  of the growing areas are too humid for lemons to produce well, a small amount of true Lemons are grown in Mexico. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a well know soft-drink manufacturer contracted with Mexican growers to grow lemons. The lemon groves are located outside of Ciudad Victoria in the state of Tamaulipas, approximately 220 miles south of McAllen, Texas. The lemon is used as an ingredient in many soft-drink beverages. The contracts have now expired and many of the lemon groves have transferred to new owners outside of Mexico and are exported to the US.

Ugly oranges, but sweet juice!

mouse over pictures for captions – click to expand

Agropecuria San Alberto - Packinghouse

Agropecuria San Alberto - Ranch & Crops

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