Juicy returns: Florida orange harvest up after long decline

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s orange crop is expected to increase for the first time in seven years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that 79 million boxes of oranges are expected during the coming season, a 76 percent increase from the 45 million produced last season. That crop was ravaged by Hurricane Irma and the industry is still suffering from citrus greening, a disease that kills trees. A box of oranges is 90 pounds (40 kilograms).

The forecast is only about a third the size of the typical Florida orange crop of the early 2000s. Almost all Florida oranges are sold to juice manufacturers.

The grapefruit crop is expected to grow 73 percent to 6.7 million boxes and the combined tangerine and tangelo crop is expected to jump 60 percent to 1.2 million boxes.

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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), http://www.theledger.com

Associated Press

Associated Press

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