Grapefruits All Over the Globe
It is well-known that most of the grapefruit eaten throughout the world is grown right here in the United States. Nearly 90% of grapefruits come from the efforts of Florida and our very own Rio Grande Valley.
Here at Winter Sweetz™ we are ecstatic that grapefruits continue to grow in popularity across the world. Surprisingly, there are many unexpected places you can find this citrus treat.
You don’t even have to leave the state of Texas to find your first surprise. Now, this may seem like cheating, given that the Texas Red Grapefruit is the official fruit of Texas. However, this does not mean that there are ideal conditions for grapefruits to grow all across Texas (it is a big state).
This is why two trees growing at Emmanuel Church in Lockhart, Texas are so special. Lockhart isn’t especially known as a citrus town.
To two trees were planted at a local church over fifteen years ago and local parishioners see the continued growth and presence of the two grapefruit trees as something of a miracle.
When the harvest on both trees is good, like it has been in the recent past, the grapefruit is sold by the parish at a library festival held annually. The abundance of a good harvest also allows boxes of fruit to be sent to local food pantries and centers that aim to feed the homeless.
If the harvest is late, the grapefruit is sold at the weekly farmers’ market in Lockhart. The money raised goes to support local causes, including Cause for Paws and scholarships for college and trade-school students. The customers really enjoy the “locally grown” label of the fruit, as well as the quality.
Moving Outside of America
One of the first places many people traveling from the United States visit is Europe. While in the Old World, you might want to stop for some quality grapefruits in Murcia.
This region in Spain is located between Andalusia, the Valencian Community, and the ocean. It is home to other fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and Monastrell grapes as well. The Star Ruby and the Rio Red are the main varieties grown there, as well as throughout the rest of Spain.
The strangest thing about the grapefruits grown in Murcia, as with all Spanish grapefruit, is that only about 20% of them are sold domestically. This is despite the fact that Spain is the fourth largest exporter of grapefruit to the European Union.
If you’re wondering what to expect from the grapefruits themselves, Spanish grapefruit has a reputation for perfect uniformity of color and tone, and its appearance is usually without blemish. They are also larger than their regional competition, like Turkish grapefruits.
Into the Middle East
You might think of many things when the nation of Israel comes to mind. It is a country with a long and rich history. It also ranks two spots ahead of Spain in exporting their citrus to the European Union.
The main reason you might want to consider visiting Israel is their willingness to experiment with cultivating new types of grapefruit. As recently as 2015, Israel had introduced four new varieties of grapefruits to their domestic market, as well as in Europe.
This may not seem like much, but it is worth remembering there are only a little over 20 varieties worldwide.
The four new varieties are the Flamingo, Hanna, Einat and Aliza.
The Flamingo, despite its name, has a red color and is the result of mixing the “Chandler” grapefruit, the Jaffa orange, and a Clementine. It retains its color even as the temperature gets colder. It is sweet, seedless, and typically ripens from October to December.
The Hanna comes from crossing the “Tahiti” and “Chandler” types of grapefruit. Like the Flamingo, it is sweet and seedless and ripens during the same months.
The Einat is pink and typically becomes ready to harvest from October to January.
The Aliza is the sweetest of all these seedless varieties, with 16% sugar. It peels easily and the developers feel it can have a significant impact on the global market.
Continuing east, you might stop in the small Chinese town of Dhanzou. Every year, they hold an annual grapefruit festival. You might be able to participate in activities like grapefruit fishing or helping create a grapefruit circle.
Beyond the fun and games, you can see how the town has embraced a model that incorporates the cultivation of grapefruit with other business ventures like catering and tourism. The festival, combined with technology and protection of local ecology, is just one way that they look to expand and improve sales.
There’s no place like home.
Traveling introduces us to many wonderful new things and seeing the extent of the global grapefruit community can be one of them.
Still, it is always nice to come home. When you get back, remember that Winter Sweetz™ has all the flavor you’ve been missing.