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How Do We Have Tangerines Year-Round?

Formally nicknamed the ‘Christmas orange’ since they were often stuffed in children stockings, tangerines make up more than $1.6 billion dollars in nationwide sales year-round. Tangerines have been grown all over the world making them the second largest cultivated citrus fruit in the world. Thanks to their various uses and their easy to peel nature this fruit has remained in demand and can be spotted in the produce aisle of grocery stores and market year-round.

What Are Tangerines?

Tangerines are named after the Moroccan port Tangier where the fruit was first shipped to Europe and the United States in the 1800s. Indigenous to the Southeast Asian regions, specifically China and Japan, tangerines are a type of citrus fruit that is a small, thin skinned variety of orange belonging to the mandarin orange species. Cultivated more than 3,000 years ago, tangerines have spread worldwide as the product was shipped westward along trade routes.

Types of Tangerines Around the World

Due to being easily crossed with other types of citrus there are currently about 200 different types of tangerines in existence. Some of the most popular are:

  • Sunburst
  • Satsuma

Sunburst tangerines are in season from September to January, commonly grown in Florida.

Satsuma tangerines are in season from October to November, commonly grown in southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, and northwestern Florida.

  • Clementine
  • Tangelos

Clementine tangerines are in season from November to January, commonly grown in China, Spain, Morocco, and California.

Tangelos tangerines are in season from September to January, commonly grown in southern Florida and Arizona.

  • Tangor
  • Ellendale

Tangor tangerines are in season from January to March, commonly grown in South Africa and Florida.

Ellendale tangerines are in season from August to October, commonly grown in Australia.

Top Importers World Wide (2020)

Top Exporters World Wide (2020)

  • Russia
    • 12.4% ($366M)
  • United States
    • 9.13% ($269M)
  • United Kingdom
    • 6.14% ($181M)
  • France
    • 5.8% ($171M)
  • Germany
    • 5.42% ($160M)

  • China
    • 19.3% ($567M)
  • Turkey
    • 13.9% ($410M)
  • Spain
    • 13.8% ($407M)
  • South Africa
    • 13% ($382M)
  • Morocco
    • 6% (181M)

Tangerines, fresh or dried, are the world’s 968th most traded good. In 2020, year-round tangerine imports and exports was a $2.94 billion dollar industry worldwide with Russia being the top importer and China being the top exporter.

Harvesting and Packaging Tangerines Year-Round

Temperature control

Tangerines are cultivated year-round in subtropical regions, such as southern Europe and the southern United States, as they prefer to grow in warm, humid climates, with temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit and full sunlight. Given these conditional needs, most of the worlds tangerines are produced in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Chile, China, the European Union, and Mexico, with California accounting for more than three-quarters of the U.S. supply; globally, China is the leading producer of tangerines supplying 19.3% of the worlds supply. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), tangerines are highly perishable and very susceptible to decay, particularly green and blue mold rots if not carefully packaged and temperature regulated. For domestic transportation of several days, it is recommended to ship tangerines at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) with relative humidity of 90 to 95 percent.

In order to achieve temperature control throughout the shipping process and preserve freshness it is recommended that reefer trailers are used as the shipping vessel. Prior to shipping tangerines should be precooled. Precooling is a critical post-harvesting process, in which fresh fruits and vegetables are immediately after harvest brought to a lower temperature in efforts to minimize spoilage, and maximize shelf life and product quality.

Packaging

After taking the precautions for temperature control tangerines will be ready to be packaged for transport. Tangerines can be transported in two ways: using fiberboard boxes or using wire bound crates. Either method used should be loaded lengthwise in an airflow pattern to allow the produce to experience constant cool air and maintain necessary temperatures, which can help tangerines avoid chilling injury and susceptible molding.

Courtesy of USDA Year-Round Recommended Packaging

Shipping Tangerine Year-Round With FreightCenter

Having trouble finding a way to ship produce? Let FreightCenter help! Shipping produce can be a delicate process with a variety of important factors to consider, especially when dealing with a fragile product such as tangerines. At FreightCenter, we’re experts when it comes to shipping products both nationally and internationally. Our carriers and freight agents can ease you into the process to ensure it’s a smooth ride for both you and your shipment. Use FreightCenter’s free online quote tool to begin. Call our shipping experts at 800.716.7608.

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