The Florida Citrus Archives has provided the data and images for many published articles over the years. On this page we will post those articles.
By Thomas B. Mack
DID YOU KNOW:
We Still Need to Move the Grapefruit Crop at a Profit?
We have in the Citrus Archives a newspaper clipping from the July 27, 1952 Orlando Sunday Sentinel-Star, under the heading of “Covering the Citrus Beat.” Marvin Walker was filling in for Jack Gurnett. (The understanding was that Marvin was filling in for Jack while he was on vacation, and Jack would fill in for Marvin, General Manager for the Florida Citrus Canners Cooperative while Mr. Walker took a week’s vacation later).
Marvin Walker’s pitch was that a Florida grapefruit promotion was needed to move the crop at a profit. This is what Marvin wrote: “Few grapefruit growers will get the cost of production for the 1951-52 crop. One out of 10 boxes is still on the trees and will fall to the ground for lack of a market. Canners are selling grapefruit juice at prices which will just about return the cost of picking and hauling the fruit, leaving nothing for the grower.” (Does this sound familiar?)
In the article, Mr. Walker called attention to Mr. John D. Clark, Citrus Commission member, who was saying over and over at every grower meeting, that something had to be done to move more grapefruit at a profit to the grower.
Walker then tells of how the industry went forcefully to the food chains and got the first national promotions for an agricultural product which moved more grapefruit and was the most successful promotion of the kind ever staged.
We need to put out a call to some present day Clarks and Walkers to approach the food chains about grapefruit promotions that will move more grapefruit at a more reasonable price to the consumer with the “middle men” not dipping too deeply into the profit margin. There is something very wrong when, as reported by Nancy Hardy (Jack Gurnett’s daughter) in her newsletter, THE Florida Citrus Reporter, a grower reported size 27 Florida grapefruit was priced at $1.49 each in a New York supermarket. WOW! That figures to be $40.23 per carton! How much of that did the grower receive? There is something wrong with the economics of grapefruit when the grower gets as little as $6-$7 per carton.
I think we can all agree that a “tree-ripe” grapefruit is a great piece of fruit. What our industry seems to really need is a federal marketing order that will only allow “tree-ripe” grapefruit to be shipped and restricts our sizes to those that the market seems to desire.
Eliminate the smaller sizes in the packing process. Send the smaller sizes to the cannery...our fresh fruit volume will be reduced and we will not have talk about the abandonment of the fruit left on the trees at the end of the season.
We definitely need a Florida grapefruit promotion to move our grapefruit crop at a profit.