Australia's diverse climate and position in the Southern Hemisphere provides the ideal conditions needed to produce a variety of citrus fruit all year round.
In the late 1700s the first Australian citrus trees were planted by English settlers in and around Sydney, NSW. Today, 2000 growers annually produce 600,000 tones of high quality citrus fruit. The most produced citrus varieties are oranges (76%), mandarins (16%) followed by lemons and limes (5.5%) and grapefruit (2.5%).
The industry's largest growing areas are in the River land of South Australia, the Riverina in NSW and the Sunraysia districts along the Murray Valley as well as the Central Burnett region in Queensland.
In the marketplace, consumers have the choice of new and exciting citrus varieties and flavors, from a fresh, juicy navel or imperial mandarin to a succulent red grapefruit. And yes, you can buy grapefruit, lemons and limes all year round. Because of Australia's location, growers are well placed to provide exceptional tasting citrus from winter through to summer.
Navels are one of the biggest orange varieties and available during the winter from June - August. They are sweet and juicy, rich in orange color, seedless and easy to peel.
Valencia's are the largest orange variety and available from November to February - the summer months. They are deliciously sweet and juicy and ideal for eating and juicing.
Mandarins are available from March to November but are best from May to October. Imperials are the most popular mandarin variety, they are easy to peel, have few seeds, if any, and have an excellent sweet flavor.
Grapefruit are available all year and, as with most citrus, there are a number of varieties available. For example, the red grapefruit is known for its red interior color, sweet taste and seedless qualities.
Lemons and limes are available all year, but the best limes are available from January to April