Shipments of South African Summer Citrus Arriving in U.S. Markets Nationwide

King Citrus Friendly Lion Mascot Makes Debut

Jul 03, 2013, 17:54 ET from Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum

PHILADELPHIA, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In time to celebrate America's birthday, citrus from South Africa is arriving. The first refrigerated vessel, Nagato Reefer, docks today at Philadelphia's Holt Terminal in Gloucester City, NJ. Onboard are +/- 245,000 cartons of Clementines, and Navel and Cara Cara oranges. Some early season citrus, including Star Ruby grapefruit arrived in June in containers.


Also onboard is King Citrus, South Africa Summer Citrus' new friendly lion mascot. "King Citrus is key to our branding initiative," said Suhanra Conradie, CEO of the Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum. "South Africa Summer Citrus' logo has long included unique elements to South Africa – the lion being the most prominent. King Citrus is a visual extension of our tagline Pride of Our Land – an obvious connection to a pride of lions and an accurate description of pride our growers take in sending premium citrus fruit to the U.S."

King Citrus will visit various U.S. cities on arrival, stopping at well-known and popular spots including Philadelphia's Independence Hall on the 4th of July. In subsequent weeks, King Citrus will appear at iconic U.S. locations In New York and Washington, D.C. as well as various supermarkets.  

The ship's arrival marks the official beginning of the 14th season of shipments of South African Summer Citrus to the U.S. The program began in 1999 with 50 tons and last year, citrus exports to the U.S. exceeded 41,000 tons. A vessel with citrus from South Africa arrives every 10-12 days to assure best quality fruit is fresh and available in the marketplace.

Clementines or easy peelers are increasingly popular among U.S. consumers. Navel oranges are considered the finest of eating oranges. The Cara Cara has a rich dark pink or red flesh. Arriving after domestic citrus is no longer available, the citrus from South Africa enables consumers to have citrus year round. Fruit is inspected prior to leaving Cape Town and again on arrival here.

Recipes are an ongoing part of connecting with consumers and are a very popular page on the website. "Consumers know fruit from South Africa can't be considered local," said Ms. Conradie. "This year our recipes incorporate citrus into popular regionalized recipes such as a delicious Citrus Lobster Salad, Citrus Marinated Flank Steak, Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange Clove Glaze, Spa Salad with Orange Vanilla Vinaigrette and Cuke, Clem and Avo Salad with Orange Sesame dressing, among others."

South African citrus sold in the United States comes primarily from the region near Citrusdal about two hours northwest of Cape Town, the Northern Cape near Kimberly, and the northwest along the Orange River, near Upington.

The WCCPF facilitates logistical, marketing and sales support coordination of products for its members. Its mission is to maintain and expand its role as the preferred and reliable supplier of safe summer citrus for the U.S.

SOURCE Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum