It's time to bid your beloved mimosas adieu, folks, and accept Bloody Marys into your life as your brunch cocktail of choice because Florida now faces the worst orange harvest crisis since records began in 1913, according to the Guardian.
The Sunshine State’s orange trees have not only been ravaged by disease, but have also been devastated by the worst hurricane season in years.
It’s not as though this season is what did oranges in, however; harvest totals have actually been falling for five consecutive seasons. It’s just that the recent barrage of terrible luck has had an especially damaging effect on the crop, causing your orange juice cartons at the grocery store to be reduced in size for nearly two-times the price.
The misfortune actually all started back in 2005. A bacterium that causes huanglongbing (citrus greening) was found in Florida, transmitted by a tiny flying insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. The insect has been able to mobilize via hurricanes, which also helped to destroy large quentities of orange trees.
"Farmers are giving up on oranges altogether,” Judith Ganes, president of the commodities research firm J Ganes Consulting, told the Guardian. ”Normally after a freeze or a hurricane [which both kill lots of trees], the growers would replant 100% of their plants.
”But the disease has been spread all over by hurricanes, and made it totally uncontrollable. Farmers are giving up and turning to other crops or turning land over to housing.”
Perhaps luckily, consumers in general have been less likely to pick up OJ at the store, largely because there is so much sugar packed into the drink. Until now, that has helped to keep the prices for a carton in check at the grocery store.
However, don’t give up all hope on the beloved citrus fruit; some people still harbor faith that the orange can flourish once more. As Andrew Meadows of Florida Citrus Mutual, a cooperative that represents many of the 62,000 people employed in the state’s citrus industry, told the Guardian on the phone: ”We’ve been through things like this before. We’re not packing up and giving up on the industry.”