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Author Topic: The Once Commercial Lime Industry Gone  (Read 827 times)


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The Once Commercial Lime Industry Gone
« on: July 03, 2014, 05:33:40 PM »
 Florida once grew the majority of the limes bought here in the U.S., said Jonathan Crane, a professor and associate director of University of Florida’s Tropical Research & Education Center. The Florida lime industry was so organized by the 1960s, growers had banded together for research, marketing, and even quality standards. They made sure the limes actually had juice and that they were of a certain size. For a long time, Florida lime growers had little competition. In 1992, the green fruit prospered on 6,102 acres among 270 farms, with much of the acreage in Miami-Dade County. Then, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 cut the lime acreage in the Miami-Dade area in half. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement opened the door for limes from Mexico to enter the market. The lime industry rebuilt for the most part after the hurricane, but citrus canker disease was first detected in limes in 1995. The disease reached limes in Homestead five years later. By October 2000, 85 to 90 percent of the lime acreage was burned due to citrus canker. Just as the industry was once again beginning to recover, the canker outbreak caused the destruction of nearly all of the lime trees in Florida. That had some long-ranging tough economic impacts that affected pickers, farmers and even ancillary businesses like fertilizer suppliers.  Of course, farmers are ever resourceful, and they used the former lime land for nurseries and to grow other fruits and vegetables. Florida may still have an ideal climate for lime growing, but growers don't see commercial lime business returning here. The 2012 Census of Agriculture released reported that only 40 farms in the state grow limes on a total of 229 acres. The limes that are grown here are usually sold to local consumers, not commercially. - Millet


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