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US: Citrus fruit sale now underway

Five tons of freshly picked oranges and grapefruit have been shipped north from Florida`s Indian River region and into cold storage here in Harvard.

It`s all part of the 18th annual Harvard Lions Club Fruit Sale, which continues Saturday, March 14, at the Harvard transfer station from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fruit can also be purchased in Harvard town center, on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In prior years, advance orders were necessary, but this year the Lions have switched to `cash and carry` sales.

The Lions were `a bit more conservative this year on the number of boxes ordered` from the Florida farmers for sale, due to the economy, according to Harvard Lions Club President John Drummey said. `Selling less will cut into our profits but we are still ambitious,` by ordering 825 boxes for sale.

The Lions are selling Valencia oranges, a variety that`s good for eating, juicing or freezing and described as a strain loaded with juice and a sweet delicate texture. The small boxes being sold have between 30 to 50 oranges, while a large box contains 60 to 80 oranges.

The grapefruit being sold are Royal Ruby Reds, a sweet, thin-skinned and seedless variety. The Lions advertise the Royal Ruby Red as being `reminiscent of refreshing red grapes and sweet nectarines, accented by a trace of litchi nut.` The small boxes being sold are packed with 16 to 24 grapefruit, while a large box holds 32 to 48 grapefruit.

Defying the economy, the Lions have been successful in holding their fruit prices steady this year. Boxes of red grapefruit or Valencia oranges can be purchased for $22 for a 20-pound (small) box or $32 for a 40-pound (large) box. The cost for a 20-pound box of mixed grapefruit and oranges is $24. Money raised goes toward the Lions` many charitable causes.

Lions Club members donned their yellow baseball caps and loaded up trucks for the fruit sale early last Saturday, which was a relatively mild day for March. Lion and past president Ed Gordon said, `at least its not snowing,` as prior year sales had been marred by inclement weather. The Harvard Lion`s fruit sale is a sign that spring is just around the corner.

Source: nashobapublishing.com

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