(Nov. 22) Good quality clementines have been coming in from Spain since late October, and good quality California clementines should be available by the end of November.

Sizes are expected to be about average, and volumes should be in line with demand.

Last month, some shippers were concerned because Spain’s clementines were generally smaller than normal because of a lack of rain in the growing regions.

But, because the U.S. imports less than 10% of Spain’s crop, its exporters could still fill U.S. orders with the larger sizes that are preferred here, said Mike Kostick, citrus category manager for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Oppenheimer’s clementines are close to normal in size, with most of them size 28 and larger, Kostick said. He said the company also is receiving some of the smaller size 32s.

Kostick said Nov. 21 that f.o.b.s for the smaller fruits, which are sizes 32 to 36, were at $3.50-3.75 for 5-pound containers. Larger fruits, sizes 28 and up, were selling for $4-4.25, he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on the same day that prices for 5-pound containers of good quality size 32 clementines imported from Spain and entering through ports in Philadelphia and New York were at $3.75. Prices for 5-pound containers of size 28s were at $3.90-4.10.

This year’s f.o.b. prices are in line with last year’s.

U.S. consumers typically prefer size 28 or larger, Kostick said. He said there’s a trend for buyers to request increasingly larger sizes, but often the eating characteristics of small clementines are better.

The quality has been normal for the early varieties, Kostick said, adding that their appearance is fine and they are saleable, but a later variety, the clemenule, is more desirable. Oppenheimer had begun receiving Spanish clemenules as of Nov. 21.

Clementine imports steady for holiday push
The U.S. imports less than 10% of Spain’s clementine crop, so exporters could still fill U.S. orders with the larger sizes that U.S. consumers favor, says Mike Kostick, citrus category manager for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia.