(Dec. 15, 6:00 p.m.) Some Texas citrus grower-shippers are bullish on the future of organic.

And even those who aren’t see some potential growth in the category.

For Sharyland Orchards LLC, Mission, Texas, organic could be destiny, said Charles Mueller, president.

Increasingly, the company’s citrus groves are surrounded by residential developments. Even if its conventional practices pose no danger to the company’s ever-closer human neighbors, the perception that they might could be enough to sway the company toward organic.

“It’s hard to say, but we may have to go organic on the big grove someday,” Mueller said. “We’re surrounded.”

Sharyland took a big step in that direction when it decided two years ago to begin transitioning a small plot to organic.

“What we have looks great,” Mueller said. “They look healthy … I’m optimistic about the whole deal.”

Also new to the organic deal is Lone Star Citrus Growers LLC, Mission, Texas. For the first time this year, the company will ship organic grapefruit from the valley, said Trent Bishop, sales manager.

“It won’t be large at all,” Bishop said. “Just enough to service one or two of our main accounts.”

Organic makes up just about 40,000 cartons of the 4.5 million cartons of Texas citrus shipped annually by Healds Valley Farms Ltd., Edinburg, Texas, said Richard Walsh, marketing director.

That’s not an accurate reflection, however, of demand for organic citrus, Walsh said.

“We would be able to move more if we had it,” he said.

Edinburg, Texas-based Edinburg Citrus Association doesn’t ship organic now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t in the future, said Paula Fouchek, marketing director.

“At this point, we’re not involved, but we have talked about it,” she said.