Member Grower Information & Frequently Asked Questions:
1. When does the California lemon season start?
The California lemon season peaks and valleys throughout the year. Lemons are available for consumers’ enjoyment year round. Marketability of a lemon depends on the stage at which it was picked. Fruit is picked when it has reached a commercially acceptable size and color.
2. What conditions favor harvesting?
Typically, a cool and dry day is ideal for harvesting. Temperatures need to be moderate before picking can start. Harvesting in moderate temperatures will prevent fruit from spotting or staining. Harvesting is affected by many different variables, such as, location, type and age of tree and the growing environment. Your Saticoy Lemon Field Rep will consider all these factors before collaboratively developing a harvesting strategy.
3. What is the harvest process?
Growers should meet with their Saticoy Field Rep prior to the start of the season to make a general plan for harvesting based on current conditions. Regular communication between Saticoy Field Reps and packing houses is necessary to determine if the plan is on course or if current conditions warrant a change. Continual updates to association’s operating plan will determine when the optimal time to pick fruit based on size, grade, and amount of fruit per tree. At Saticoy Lemon Association our goal is to keep your picking costs low while maximizing the marketability of your fruit.
4. Who do I contact to inquire about my crop and market conditions?
Your Saticoy Field Rep will be your go to person when inquiring about your crop and market conditions. The periodic grower newsletter also provides helpful information on current market conditions.
5. How do I sign up to be a grower of Saticoy Lemon?
Contact the Saticoy Field Office in Santa Paula at (805)-654-6555 if interested in becoming a grower member. A meeting with a Field Rep will be scheduled to assess your needs and develop a strategy. The Saticoy Field Rep will review your farming practices, the condition of your trees and type of fruit you grow when developing a harvesting strategy. Once you become a grower member of Saticoy Lemon, you become an owner. You are welcome to come into our packing houses to see your fruit processed.
6. What other grower services does Saticoy Lemon Association offer?
Saticoy Lemon Association provides many different services that assist growers in and out of the field. We have an experienced and knowledgeable field staff that can always be of assistance. Grower services include contractor recommendations, harvest assistance, food safety help, and cultural practice advice to improve grove conditions. On-line grower services include daily wash reports, current market trends, quarterly newsletters, and a weather link. Our facilities are equipped with electronic graders to make sure your fruit is graded accurately. We offer one of the lowest packing costs in the industry, and also have advances for pick and haul with no interest charge. We provide advances to cover spraying and pruning services, and fruit grower supply.
7. When do I receive payment for my fruit?
Payments are received in multiple advances throughout the year depending on district. Typically, 70% of payment is received by the end of September, but this depends on cash flow and current market conditions.
8. What might growers say about Saticoy Lemon?
Growers would say that we are a proactive packing facility that harvests fruit in a timely and reasonable manner, while harvesting fruit when it is the best size and the best grade. They have sufficient capacity to store my fruit to meet market demand.
9. What sets Saticoy Lemon Association apart from other packing houses?
Size and layout of our facilities, storage capacity, operating capacity, competitive pack costs, and financial stability. We have a strong board of directors and Sunkist affiliation, which means a year round market presence, label recognition, and market penetration. We also have a good mix of fruit that comes in from all major citrus growing areas of California.
10. What is Saticoy Lemon Association’s strategy in communicating with growers?
We are proactive in numerous communication channels, especially though our newsletters. With our open door policy, growers are welcome to come into the office, call, or email whenever they have a question. When temporarily unavailable, our field reps are prompt in returning calls back to you.
11. How many acres of lemon orchards are there in California?
There are 42,000 acres of lemons in California. Fifty percent of the total California lemon acreage is located in Ventura and Santa Barbara County. Citrus production has heavily shaped the history of Ventura County and Saticoy Lemon Association has been and continues to be a big part of Ventura’s history.
12. What is a grade report?
Grade reports are used to pay growers based on the size and quality of their fruit when it comes in from the groves. The Sunkist Stat Trak electronically examines 100% of the fruit as it passes under the machine and converts the readings into daily grade reports. Growers can access these reports after logging into our website.
13. What does it mean to be a Sunkist grower/member?
Being a grower for Sunkist means you support leadership in the industry. In today’s competitive international market, an independent grower stands alone against competition. As a member, each individual grower joins with other growers to gain a mutually larger market share. With the help of other Sunkist members you can develop a worldwide market, promote a brand name, access a global transportation system, and develop comprehensive research capabilities. As a member of Sunkist you will benefit from competitive fresh and product returns in their annual dividend program for growers.