WESLACO — Rio Star and Ruby Sweet are but a click away for your gift giving this season. A new Web page features most everything about the state’s growing citrus industry including a link to order the popular grapefruit and oranges gift boxes.
Texas Citrus, http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/citrus, is a project of Dr. Julian Sauls, Texas Agricultural Extension Service citrus specialist.
“Basically, I created the citrus site to gather together all of the Texas citrus information into one location, and since the Web is the medium of communication now, it was a logical way to do it,” Sauls said.
“We can readily update any of the information and images very economically. Hopefully, it will stimulate interest in Texas citrus among the vast population which knows nothing about it, thereby stimulating consumer preferences for Texas citrus.”
Sauls said the page, which came online in October, logged almost 700 user sessions within a month.
From the opening page, one can navigate to links that remind about the great nutritional value of citrus, its history and, most importantly, how to get some of this popular fruit in time for New Year’s weight loss promises.
For starters, grapefruit and oranges have all the vitamin C you need, no fat, no cholesterol, and are high-fiber, low-cal — so what else do you want? If you want to know more, from the Texas Citrus page, click on Citrus Industry, then follow TexasSweet <www.texasweet.com> to nutritional information.
Amaze your friends and fellow party goers this season by noting that grapefruit are so called because an 1800s Jamaican farmer nicknamed them for the way they grow in grape-like clusters on trees. Educate folks by using the obscure Latin name, Citrus Paradisi, or note the grapefruit’s genealogy as a presumed mutant of pummelo. If you want to go into more fantastic facts, take the TexasSweet page and go to the Grapefruit link.
By this time, you and all those you’ve entertained with facts and trivia will want to order several boxes for themselves and hard-to-please friends and family on the gift list, so navigate from the main page <aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/citrus> and click on Marketing, then Gift Fruit Shippers.
“You’ll find 38 shippers ready to fill your gift fruit needs by phone, fax, e-mail or Web page,” says Sauls.
But you better go log on and order right now if you want the fruit in time for Christmas. Or, follow the directions on the TexasSweet Gift Fruit Ideas page and create your own basket gifts using Texas grapefruit and oranges purchased at a supermarket.
Sauls notes that with only about 34,500 acres of citrus left in Texas after devastating freezes in the 1980s, demand for premium quality grapefruit and sweet oranges far exceeds supply.
According to the Texas Agricultural Statistics Service, Texas will produce some 5 million boxes of grapefruit, up 4 percent from last year, but 1.44 million boxes of oranges, down 6 percent from a year ago. Nationally, U.S. growers will harvest some 64 million boxes of grapefruit and 254 million boxes of oranges.