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US Citrus: Home of Citrus Fruits and Trees

by Jem Guinto
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US Citrus

Since 2012, US Citrus has been grafting citrus fruits and establishing groves in the perfect sandy loam soil of Hargill — a tiny South Texas town. The business has rewarded not just Texas, but the whole country, with bountiful inspiration, strengthening our citrus culture.

Having US Citrus around also means having a year-round supply of juicy, aromatic limes! They just transform cocktails and cuisine, not to mention that they are so much different than what you typically get at the grocery store. 

 

Getting to know US Citrus

US Citrus

© uscitrus.com

US Citrus was founded in 2012 by Dr. Mani Skaria, a professor emeritus in citrus plant pathology with 30+ years of experience from the Texas A&M Citrus Center. He saw that American consumers did not have access to top-quality Persian lime fruit. From then on, his goal has always been to provide absolute top-quality citrus fruits directly to these consumers.

Currently, Persian limes available at the grocery stores are imported from Mexico and Central America — which are oftentimes harvested too early because of long transit times. Ever wondered why when you squeeze lime, you only get a few drops of juice? It’s because, with early harvesting, you’re bound to only get the “cull” quality.

Aside from Persian limes, US Citrus expanded to wanting to provide a range of top-quality citrus fruit including Meyer Lemons, Rio Red Grapefruit, Pink Lily Oranges (a proprietary variety), and even specialty citrus like Buddha’s Hand and Yuzu lemon!

They start by grafting and growing their own citrus trees with a proprietary grafting process called “micro-budding”. These trees are planted in their groves, and then they harvest and pack the fruit in their very own boutique packing shed. With this vertical integration, they are able to ensure that they can provide quality fruit and food safety at the same time!

 

On penetrating the market 

They had to establish their e-commerce footprint to connect with their customers with the goal of providing the best citrus fruit and trees. This is not the traditional way people get fruit and trees, so US Citrus had to make sure that they constantly improve their shipping, harvesting, and care practices. It involves a lot of customer education and brand awareness, but all of this results in a new, exciting, and unique platform in citrus!

 

On sourcing ingredients

US Citrus grows all of their own trees and packs all of their fruit in their very own packing shed. They partner with small boutique groves in the RGV. They make sure to establish great relationships with multiple exotic citrus varieties available to customers.

 

US Citrus products

US Citrus

© uscitrus.com

US Citrus’ first online product was citrus trees sold planted in mason jars back in 2015! This sounded great, but there were multiple problems. The glass often broke in transit and because small garden stones are used, the plants overheat and eventually die.

It was their first run at e-commerce, and they had to learn how to adapt, pivot, innovate, and change on the fly! Today US Citrus sells their citrus trees primarily in plastic one-gallon pots. Expect for them to offer a wider variety of pot options next year for sure!

 

The bestsellers

US Citrus is best known for its Persian lime fruit. In fact, they are actually the largest seller of Persian lime in the country! They let the fruit ripen on the tree and fresh-harvest to order. They ship Grade 1 limes — incredibly large, juicy, and aromatic. This gives you a completely different experience from the imported cull-grade fruit.

Rio Red grapefruit and Meyer lemon fruit are definitely also fan favorites! In South Texas, the Meyer lemon is so popular that it is called the “Valley Lemon” — definitely something you would want to get your hands on!

 

Where to get US Citrus products

US Citrus

© uscitrus.com

US Citrus fruits and trees are available on their website. If you are in South Texas, they will be happy to have you at their nursery and grove to browse through an extensive selection at Hargill!

Want to know how to get fruits from US Citrus themselves? Better for you to try out their Craft Citrus Club! They will curate a 10-lb box of the best local, seasonal citrus fruits to be delivered at regular intervals! You can have fresh citrus every 2 weeks!

Throughout the year, expect to receive a mix of seasonal:

  • Persian and Key limes,
  • Meyers and Eureka lemons,
  • Mars, Navel, and Valencia oranges,
  • Golden and Rio Red grapefruit,
  • Clementine Satsuma mandarins, and 
  • specialty crops like kumquats and Australian Finger limes!

If you’re also looking for citrus fruit recipes and citrus tree care instructions, it will do you good to visit their Citrus Simplified Blog!

 

Looking ahead

As an avid fan of US Citrus, expect to continue receiving the best of the bests of their products,

We want to continue establishing ourselves as the premier online provider for all things citrus for the American consumer. From Makrut (Kaffir) lime leaves, specialty citrus fruit, and even citrus trees, we want our customers to have complete trust that we can get them the highest quality citrus product that they are looking for!

As for opening a new store, sorry to break your bubble — but there won’t be new ones. Although, they have recently expanded their product line to Makrut Lime leaf subscriptions. These leaves have an intense citrus aroma and are crucial in Thai and Southeast Asian cooking. US Citrus fresh-harvest these leaves to keep that intense flavor, and you can freeze the product for up to 3 months!

 

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