smart spending

Citrus and other fruit on sale in January

Large citrus (and some fresh blueberries)
Large citrus (and some fresh blueberries)

Craving a little winter sunshine? It's a lot closer -- and less expensive -- than you might think.

"Historically, citrus has been the best buy this time of year," says James Parker, team leader of the global produce and floral buying office for Whole Foods Market.

While smaller citrus fruits such as tangerines started pouring into the stores in late November and early December, larger citrus fruits -- such as grapefruit, navel oranges and blood oranges -- reach their peak in January, Parker says. That's because they require a little more time on the tree to sweeten, he says.

"January is really the trigger point for when some of the larger citrus really starts becoming good," Parker says. While "a lot of it depends on the weather," shoppers could see prices for something like navel oranges at about half of the nonseasonal prices.

Fresh blueberries are another good buy in January.

It's prime blueberry season in South America. And as the berries now start to move by ship, rather than the air transport used earlier in the season, consumers will likely find better deals on the fruit.

Expect to see larger cartons at the same price rather than discounts, Parker says.

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