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SouthEast Citrus Expo 2014 Mini-Report

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SouthEast Citrus Expo 2014 Mini-Report

This was my first year attending the Citrus Expo. I drove south from Atlanta, and  3 hours later, here we are:

The first thing that I saw was the plants for sale at the front.They seemed to be Camelias and some citrus with baskets of fruit to sample. Mr. Crawford from Loch Laurel Nursery was very helpful in answering questions and giving samples.

Sorry about the lack of pics at the beginning, but I felt self conscious at first, so it took me a while to get snapping. Coming through the entrance, you registered, and then saw the fruit that was set up for the judging. Towards the end of the day, we were able to sample some of the fruit. Since I had never tasted most of these before, it was a great chance for me. Some standouts:

The dragon lime tasted mostly like a lime, with an extra bitter component. Not too unbearable.

Bloomsweet was okay (I'm not a grapefruit person). Somewhat dry, but decent. Better if you like grapefruit I imagine.

US119 was pretty good. It was not super sweet, but it did look still green. No funky aftertaste that stood out.

The citrange wasn't as bad as I've read on here. It did have a funky aftertaste to it, but I think it could still work for cooking purposes. 

The absolute worst was the kaffir lime. I was fooled by the lime name and tried a taste. It had an awful lingering taste that stuck around for ages. Much worse than any citrange.
The thomasville was solid. Can't wait for mine to fruit. Tasted lime like, with a little sweet on the end.

Kept meaning to try that Dekopon but didn't get a chance.


Then on to the guest speakers. I missed a good portion of these coming late and ogling the contest entrants, but got some good info. The Potassium and Mineral lecture by Erik Smith seemed to be pretty interesting. Cold Tolerance By Dr Hanna was what I tried to catch, and it was an excellent summary. As you expected the older the plant, the better his seedless Changsha's and Ichangs did. The best performing rootstock was Flying Dragon, then the regular Poncirus, then the others behind. I'll dig up my notes if anyone wants specifics.

The Q&A was pretty wide ranging. As expected, questions ranged from fertilization, to a lot of concern about Greening and the Asian Psyllid. It then took a turn for the terrifying as the Ambrosia Beetle emerged. This bad boy basically goes into the tree, lives there, and eats the tree to death. It's basically some kind of borer that seems to be unstoppable right now. Some members of the Southern Fruit Fellowship reported seeing them on Figs, Pomegranates, and a host of other fruit.

Then we had the raffle. The hosts did try to make sure everyone won something. I got a nice Banana plant that I have to figure out what to do with. Other plants were Pineapple guavas, figs, and a few nice ornamentals.

Then it was on to the test plots.

Dr. Fonsah gave a great tour that made me wish I had caught his presentation. He also gave plants away to anyone who wanted some, but I had zero room in the car.

The Changshas were ridiculous, they were fruiting so hard.

Dr. Hannah filled us in. The fruit were about as seedless as he could get them now. The University was waiting on the USDA and some other agencies to give them approval. They were pretty tasty, but the location of the seedless ones must have been a secret, cause none of us in the group could find any.

There weren't many Ichang lemons. They had an off year, cause I sure wanted to taste those.

They were also growing grapefruits there, but I didn't catch the variety that they were using.

All in all, a great experience, and I recommend any citrus growers in the area to attend at least one. I think next time I would definitely try and get up in the wee morning hours to catch all the presentations. And maybe video or audio record because there was so much information that I couldn't remember it all.

Thanks so much for the pictures.  I have attended quite a few Citrus Expo in the past, but did not make it this year.  How many people in total would you say attended the event? - Millet


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