Florida Records a Fruit Freezer, Not Devastating Freeze

January 19, 2010 06:00 PM

Sara Schafer, AgWeb Crops Online Editor
The latest news coming out of Florida is not full sunshine for the state's orange crop.
USDA has lowered its orange crop estimate for Florida twice this season. The agency expects Florida growers to harvest 162 million boxes of oranges during the 2008-09 season, down from its original forecast of 166 million boxes.
Yet, not all the news is gloomy. Bill Rowe, of William G. Rowe and Sons, a citrus growing, packaging, and shipping business located in Winter Haven, Fla., is not worried about the freeze damage that has occurred this year, compared to previous year.
"I would call this freeze a genuine fruit freezer, but it's not the devastating freeze like we had in 1983 and 1989.”
Hear Rowe's account:
Rowe says his area experienced three nights of really cold temperatures. "While we've gotten cold and did have freezing temperatures but we didn't have the duration to really hurt us,” he says.
Rowe says that what you have to understand about the Florida citrus industry is that growers buy the best land that is most suited for citrus production. "A lot of citrus land is planted in very advantageous places.”
Future Citrus Supply
Rowe says a lot of frozen fruit statewide, which will affect supply.
"There's a shortage of domestic juice oranges,” he says. "Worldwide there's not a shortage. But, the domestic supply of fruit grown in Florida for juice will be significantly reduced.”

You can e-mail Sara Schafer at sschafer@farmjournal.com.

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