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Production Timeline

What is the True Timeline from Harvest to Delivery?

We are aware that there are citrus companies that tell their customers (who then tell their customers) that "your fruit will be harvested the very same day it is shipped". However this is hardly ever the case when dealing with Florida Citrus that is shipped in the fall. The reason for this, is that Florida citrus fruit is usually still green in color during the period from October to the end of December and must undergo a process known as degreening before it can be shipped.

Please refer to our degreening page for a detailed explanation of the degreening process. The degreening process is performed after the fruit is picked (post harvest). It can take 72 hours in November and as little as 18-48 hours toward the end of December to achieve proper color. Please remember that the color of the fruit is not a good indication of how ripe (mature) the fruit is. Most green fruit in November and December will be found to be mature and there are occasions where fruit with color on it is found to be immature. Also remember that the ripening process ends once a piece of citrus fruit is separated from the tree.

Obviously, if fruit has to be degreened for 18 to 72 hours it cannot be shipped the same day it is harvested.

A realistic timeline from harvest to delivery would be as follows:

Harvest to Shipping Times
  Oct - Mid Dec Mid Dec- Jan Spring
Picking and transporting fruit from grove (Pick & Haul)
Processing, Cooling & Shipping Fruit
Total Time

Please understand that there is no getting around the degreening process unless you resort to a process known as "color add" where the fruit is actually dyed prior to shipment. USDA and State of Florida regulations will not permit shipping any fruit that does not comply with strict color standards.

As far as transportation is concerned a good rule of thumb for legitimate freight haulers is to allow the driver 1 day for each 500 mile he has to drive. No doubt about it, some drivers will do more, but the law does restrict them to approximately 500 miles per day.

So why would a company that knows their fruit must be degreened, maintain that their fruit is shipped "the same day it is harvested"? We don't know, but it sure sounds good!