You May Have Trouble Getting Your Hands on Florida Oranges This Year

published Feb 4, 2022
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Credit: Harry & David

If you’re planning any orange-centric recipes — or if you pour a glass of fresh OJ every morning — take note. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Florida’s orange crop might be the smallest it’s been since the 1940s. In a good year, Florida produces 240 million plus of 90-pound boxes of oranges, but this year, the state may only produce 44.5 million boxes.

The orange shortage is due to a bacterial infection called citrus greening, an incurable disease that’s spread by an insect. Affected trees still grow fruit — but rather than the big, juicy oranges you’re used to, the fruit is small and bitter. Along with higher infection rates, Florida is also facing a decreasing number of orange trees due to land development and a shortage of growers, according to reports from the Washington Post. For context, in 2006, the state had more than 36 million Valencia orange trees; now, that number has dwindled to just over 30 million. 

Florida isn’t the only U.S. state that produces oranges, however, so all is not completely lost for your daily fix of Vitamin C. This year, California will outdo the Sunshine State, with an expected 47 million boxes of oranges. That said, those oranges usually aren’t used for juice — so orange juice shoppers can expect orange prices to skyrocket this year. The Post reports OJ prices increased by nearly 14 percent in 2021, and have already gone up an additional 5.73 percent in January 2022 alone. 

Luckily, not all citrus is taking a hit — for example, Florida’s grapefruit production will remain unchanged. So, if you’re looking for a way to lighten things up, adding this Shrimp, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad, or this grapefruity Sangria Shrub Punch to your dinner party offerings is a great option to go with.