The craze surrounding zipper-skinned citrus varieties hasn't gone unnoticed as the University of Georgia recently held a day-long conference in Valdosta on the crop.
The conference focused on potential satsuma mandarin production south Georgia and northern Florida, according to a news release.
About 100 acres of satsumas have been under production in Gadsden and Jackson counties, Fla., for several years. And growers are planning to increase plantings, said Steve Olson, a horticulture professor with the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy.
But Lowndes County Extension agent Jake Price sees expanded potential in the crop.
“They grow in pretty much the same (climate) zone as we have," he said in the release, referring to California. "There’s no reason that Georgia can’t have some industry too.”
Marketed under several catchy names, the seedless, easy-to-peel mandarins have become popular with parents and kids alike.
The conference featured University of Florida and University of Georgia researchers, including UGA plant breeder Wayne Hanna, who's based in Tifton, Ga.
In addition, the conference examined pricing and marketing, including marketing to schools.
As Price pointed out, you must first have markets lined up before planting the first tree.
One thing going for the satsumas is they are cold-tolerant. Once established, trees can withstand temperatures as low as 15 degrees.