While I was in Florida for Christmas, I convinced my mom and aunt to take a little detour on our way back from the outlets in Vero Beach. (I am so happy to be paid in pounds at the moment.) I wanted to check out a local farmstand, Al’s Family Farms in Fort Pierce.
It’s a nice little place. A big red barn. A lot of oranges. And a tiny little gift shop that sells orange juice and a few too many tacky souveniers for my liking. But the orange juice was really great so it got me thinking about oranges and the state of Florida. Everywhere I looked, farm land was up for sale. What was happening to the citrus crops in South Florida?
1. Florida produces 68% of U.S. citrus fruits.
2. Citrus production in Florida declined 40.4% between the 1996-97 growing season and the 2005-06 growing season.
3. Commercial citrus acreage in Florida declined 38.0% between 1996 and 2006.
4. Brazil produces 229% as many oranges as the U.S. does. (The primary orange-growing states in the U.S. are Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona.)
5. A lot of tangerines come from China.
6. Most Florida oranges are used for juice and consumed domestically.
It all gives new meaning to Drink Local now, doesn’t it? It all sort of makes me want to buy an orange grove.