Riverina floods haven’t dampened Australia’s blood orange boom

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd July 2012

Despite the 2011 floods, in which 130 million litres of water swamped orchards, Riverina blood orange growers are seeing record crops this year.

Grower, Mr Vito Mancini of Redbelly Citrus, said, “The crop was healthy and the size of fruit larger than ever, with an extra 150 tons of fruit over what we supplied to the Australian market last year.”

Mr Mancini said he expected 2012 to be the year when significant volumes of fruit would be available for food companies to incorporate into their products.

The blood orange boom means that growers now have the capacity to provide produce to food manufacturers, such as marmalade, popsicle, and gelato makers, as well as to juice and beverage companies.

“This year, we will harvest 300 tons of blood oranges which will expand to 2,000 tons by 2015 as the orchards mature,” Mr Mancini said, adding that he looked forward to making the fruit more widely available and accessible in Australia. He hopes the blood orange will move into the mainstream alongside mandarins, grapefruits, and more familiar varieties of orange such as navels and valencias.

Mr Mancini’s company, Redbelly Citrus, has also gone into value-adding beyond the orchard. Redbelly Citrus is producing its new Red Orange range of blood orange marmalades and cordials, and these are proving popular items of the greengrocers and wholesalers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.