Citrus growers have new licensed varieties more assessable with FAST TRACK, a program developed through the combined efforts of the Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP), the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), and the New Varieties Development & Management Corp. (NVDMC). FAST TRACK lets commercial citrus growers obtain a license to participate in planting new fresh fruit citrus varieties.
The aim of the FAST TRACK program is to call upon the experience and expertise of commercial growers in the evaluation process for deciding which experimental citrus varieties have commercial potential, and to accelerate utilization of improved Florida varieties. The first five varieties have been made available for commercial growing through the FAST TRACK tier program. The FAST TRACK model has now been revised, and is no longer a tier level system, eliminating a grower head start, but it still has a $150 registration fee.
The latest FAST TRACK variety is Marathon, an early-season seedless mandarin with a harvest window from September to January. The 914 grapefruit is another citrus variety offered in the FAST TRACK program. It’s a seedless grapefruit/pummelo hybrid that features great internal and external color, a higher brix than standard grapefruit, and lower acid. It is available to any grower that’s interested in planting their desired amount.
With our citrus acreage in decline over the past several years, the benefits of new varieties not being restricted will assist in increasing acreage in Florida, and by providing a competitive edge for Florida citrus for the global market. NVDMC is an important asset to the Florida citrus industry by offering the best new selections of fresh fruit or juice varieties only Florida growers.