Satsuma harvest season starts

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Harvest season has started for a familiar type of local citrus-- the Satsuma.

"It's easy to peel and normally has one to two seeds, if any seeds at all," Jackson County Horticulture Agent Matt Lollar said.

Cherokee Satsumas, a company in Jackson County, has been harvesting for about ten years.

"The market is strong with the disaster that happened down south with their greening, so we're just having a great year," owner Mack Glass said. "We're getting it started and traffic is good."

Citrus farmers in central and south Florida packed 67 million boxes last year. Because of Hurricane Irma, that number has dropped to 31 million this year.

"The storms, thank goodness we dodged both of them so we had no damage at all," Glass said.

Right now, Cherokee Satsumas is harvesting and packing for shipments.

"We're running them through here as fast as we can get them off the tray, as fast as they turn color," Glass said.

The ideal color is about 90 percent orange, with a hint of yellow.

"That's pretty indicative of the amount of acid in the fruit, so we want a good, sweet, easy to peel fruit, so we need a good bit of color on them," Glass said.

Only about 15 percent of the satsumas have been harvested, so the season is just getting started.