‘Orange’ you glad you live in Florida?!

Oranges are popular in the state of Florida, it is the state fruit and the orange blossom is the state flower! Oranges have been grown in Florida since the middle of the 16th century. Even though oranges were not grown as a cash crop until much later the first oranges were planted and grown in Florida by the Spanish conquistadors who came to the Florida coast after landing in South America.

Now the citrus industry has grown to one of the biggest in the state, bringing in nearly 10 billion dollars annually and creating jobs for more 75,000 people. Florida oranges are shipped all over the world and are known for their sweet taste and juiciness. Even though Florida brings in a lot of money from tourism and other state ventures, growing and selling high quality Florida oranges and other citrus fruits is a pillar of the state economy. Florida oranges and citrus fruits make up 70% of all the citrus fruits sold in the US each year.

Even though oranges and citrus fruits can be found around the world we know that the best orange juice comes from Florida. Brazil is the only country that creates more orange juice than the United States. Florida orange juice is well-known for being rich in vitamin C and one 8-ounce glass of orange juice provides more than 100 percent of the recommended daily value. Did you know it’s also a good source of other essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate and thiamin? Florida orange juice’s combination of nutrients supports overall health and can help adults and children meet intake recommendations for certain key nutrients.

Where are oranges grown in the state of Florida? Much of the oranges are grown in the southern two-thirds of the Florida peninsula, where there is low probability for a freeze. After a series of freezes in the 1980s, citrus growers gradually migrated southward from central and northern regions, although Polk County in the central part of the state remains the top citrus producing county.

Even with such a strong industry, citrus growers still face pests and disease. One of the most common disease growers are currently battling is citrus greening. Citrus greening (also known as Huanglongbing or HLB) is a disease spread by an insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. The psyllid feeds on the stems and leaves of the trees, infecting the trees with the bacteria that causes citrus greening. Greening slows the flow of nutrients, impairing the tree’s ability to properly mature. This results in smaller and sour tasting fruit. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure.

With more than 90% of Florida oranges grown for orange juice, citrus greening has had a profound effect on the orange juice industry. Working with leading experts and researchers, Florida citrus growers are doing all they can to continue to deliver the oranges and orange juice Florida is known for and ensure they remain available for years to come.

Photo courtesy of Colorado State University







For amazing recipes using Florida oranges visit https://www.followfreshfromflorida.com/recipes/?c=all&i=oranges.

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