(Dec. 20) An alliance with a Jamaican growing operation will allow a South Florida tropical produce importer and shipper to send increasing amounts of an ugly appearing variety of citrus to U.S. and European supermarket shelves.

Goulds, Fla.-based C-Brand Tropicals Inc. expected to receive its first shipment of the trademarked Ugli exotic Jamaican tangelo Dec. 15. C-Brand announced it had become the exclusive sales agents for the specialty fruit’s marketing and distribution. The variety is grown exclusively by Trout Hall Ltd., May Pen, Jamaica. Cabel Hall Citrus Ltd. owns the trademark.

Peter Leifermann, C-Brand’s managing partner, said he expects to sell 10% to 15% more of the zipper skinned seedless fruit in each of the coming years.

“We have been selling Ugli fruit for years but it hasn’t been a direct relationship with us and the grower,” he said. “We are happy to be working with the grower and are looking forward to a stronger season this year than last.”

Last year Hurricane Ivan cut production 65% from 38,000 boxes in 2003-04 to 13,500 in 2004-05. More plantings, however, will make for more fruit for the season that runs through the end of April, Leifermann said.

C-Brand expects to ship 31,000 35-pound boxes this season to the U.S. with a similar amount to Europe.

With this season’s smaller grapefruit volume, Leifermann said he thinks shoppers may give more consideration to the ugly fruit.

Discovered growing wild in Jamaica more than 70 years ago, the tree-ripened Ugli variety is available in a variety of sizes from 4 inches to 6 inches and bigger and come in green to greenish-yellow to yellow and even some orange colors.