Citrus harvest underway in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Winter is peak season for harvesting citrus and the orchards of Fresno County are ripe for the clipping.

"The eating quality has been excellent, it's an early maturity year," said Scott Woods, Director of Field Operations.

Woods said early maturity means California growers, like Bee Sweet Citrus, can capitalize on early season markets. The Fowler based company grows 20 citrus varieties over 10,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley.

"We have everything from your staple like the naval to the exotic blood oranges," said Woods.

Throw in their varieties of grapefruit, lemon, and mandarins and you might see why they are considered a one stop shop for your citrus needs.

Harvest takes place year round, but winter is peak season for all citrus commodities. The wet weather is always welcome but it is also a double-edged sword, for example-- in foggy conditions growers can not clip the product until it's dry.

"We'll get staining if we pick it wet, so when it's raining obviously were not harvesting, but long term big picture we want the rain," said Woods.

"The valley's been really good to us," said Jim Marderosian, President of Bee Sweet Citrus.

Founded in 1987 Marderosian started Bee Sweet with his college roommate.

"He had a little produce market, so on weekends I would go over there and pedal fruit on the weekends. Making a little money and I kind of enjoyed it."

Over the last 29 years, they have grown to 700 employees and went from packing 1.5 million cartons to 10 million shipped worldwide.
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