The 2012 season holds the promise of record or near-record crops for citrus and avocado growers in the Tri-Counties.
That’s the view from the mid-year update from Limoneira Co., one of the region’s largest producers.
Limoneira CEO Harold Edwards said in Santa Paula on June 26 that the company’s expanded lemon operations mean that it will ship more than 2 million cartons this year, putting it on a trajectory of 30 percent annual growth. The company cut its ties with Sunkist in 2010 and took its own sales and marketing.
Counting new production from Associated Growers, an Arizona group that Limoneira partnered with earlier this year, shipments will reach 3.5 million cartons next year, Edwards said.
About 30 percent of the lemon crop will be for export, he added.
The company’s avocado operations are on track to produce about 9 million pounds for Limoneira, up nearly 30 percent from earlier estimates of a 7 million pound season. “All in all, we’re bullish on agriculture,” Edwards said.
While real estate operations continue to be challenging, Edwards said that Limoneira was targeting the end of October to complete Santa Paula’s annexation of East Area I, a major new project to provide a mix of housing options. He said the company’s Windfall Farms property near Paso Robles was being positioned as a potential site for growing wine grapes on the Central Coast, where global demand has eaten through a grape glut and created a worldwide shortage of fruit.