The Rio Grande Valley is the Premier Texas Citrus Region

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Grower Insights
Rio Ruby Grapefruit from Pittman & Davis groves

Ask the average American where the best citrus is grown and many will respond, “Florida,” while others will say, “California.” Well, we want to introduce you to another location that produces premium citrus…Texas. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that Texas is the nation’s third-largest citrus producer.

Here are the answers to some common questions about Texas-grown citrus:

What kinds of citrus come from Texas?

Pittman & Davis has its roots in Texas – specifically, in the Rio Grande Valley region. Frank and Kitty Davis moved to South Texas in the 1920s on the advice of their family doctor, who recommended the warm, dry climate for their daughter’s severe allergies. Once in Texas, Frank, who’d worked extensively in the mail order business, became good friends with local fruit grower Howard Pittman. Howard was justifiably proud of his prize-winning citrus, and he and Frank soon teamed up to make it available to families all over the nation.

Nearly a century later, not all our premium fruit is grown in Texas, but a great deal of our citrus is, such as Navel Oranges, Clementines, and – of course – our best-selling Rio Ruby™ Red Grapefruit.

Where exactly in Texas is citrus fruit grown?

The vast majority of citrus fruit grown in Texas comes from the Rio Grande Valley.

Known to locals as “the Valley” the Rio Grande Valley is located at Texas’s southernmost tip along the Rio Grande River, the natural boundary which separates the United States from Mexico. Though referred to as a valley, this region is actually a flood plain made up of bodies of water branching off the river.

Why is citrus grown in the Rio Grande Valley so exceptional?

The Rio Grande Valley’s warm climate and unique topography lends to the growth of exceptional citrus. A good example is our own much-beloved Rio Ruby Red Grapefruit.

Does the word “grapefruit” make you think of painfully restrictive diets and mouth-puckering bitterness? Think again…sinking your teeth into one of our Rio Ruby Reds is an entirely different experience from eating acidic, sour white grapefruit. The Rio Ruby Red’s vibrant, sugar-sweet flavor and beautiful, juicy red flesh is the result of a spontaneous fruit mutation discovered in a South Texas orchard in 1929. Since then, the beloved variety has become a favorite of citrus lovers around the world, with the most coveted fruits grown in groves located in the Rio Grande Valley. The trees on which the Rio Ruby™ Red grow are particular about soil, sunlight and temperature, and the Rio Grande Valley gives them what they need.

In addition to providing our customers with fruit grown in the best locations, we also take the extra step of letting our grapefruit ripen fully on the tree so it’s as sweet as possible. Then, just hours after picking, each fruit is hand selected for size, quality and ripeness, individually hand packed and rushed out so each large, sweet, juicy grapefruit arrives fresh and perfect. You won’t find such extraordinary, highly nutritious grapefruit grown anywhere else!

How can Texas citrus be enjoyed?

Texas citrus can be eaten fresh out of hand, added to savory recipes, used in salads and salsas, or as a topping for yogurt. The juice and zest from Texas citrus fruits is wonderful for adding flavor and acidity to a variety of recipes including salad dressings, marinades, sauces and cocktails.

When is Texas Citrus in Season?

The Texas citrus crop produced in the Rio Grande Valley begins maturing in early October. With different varieties of oranges and grapefruits available both throughout and beyond the growing season, Texas citrus fruit from the Rio Grande Valley may be available well into the month of May, while the last oranges grown in Texas mature sometime in January.

To sum up…

So, if you’re looking for the best-tasting citrus around, look to the Rio Grande Valley! Fresh-from-the-grove Texas citrus is packed with nutrients including vitamin C and other antioxidants, flavonoids and fiber. With tangy-sweet flavor as big as the Lone Star state itself, our citrus is a welcome gift for any occasion.

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