When we hear about the beautiful state of Florida, we would often think about National Parks and their ever-famous sandy beaches. Indeed Florida undoubtedly has some of the best sights to offer to its tourists. Still, one aspect we tend to forget about Florida is its common fruit farming, specifically the famous Florida Oranges.
History of the Florida Orange Juice
Back in the days, the oranges primarily started in the Southeast Asian countries, making oranges as one major fruit crop they grew. But as time went by, Spaniards introduced the citrus fruit crop across Europe, serving a vital role to everyone. During the Spaniards world exploration, they’ve stumbled and discovered the land of Florida, and coincidentally, they have the seeds of their newly found oranges. Alongside the land exploration and settlement, they began cultivating oranges to help aid their necessity for food. Specifically, Spaniards planted the first orange trees near St. Augustine, Florida, during the 1500s. But, it wasn’t commercially available till after the Civil War – when railroads were starting to take shape, thus allowing farmers to deliver their orange crops across the country. Still true to this day, orange is Florida’s number one crop, making it a billion-dollar industry to date; the citrus wonder made waves throughout the country, bearing the name Florida Oranges. With Florida’s subtropic climate, it was clear that it’s one of the best places to grow oranges; in fact, even after freezing issues came in, Floridians still found a way to cultivate the seeds on the same Florida soil. Today, almost 90 percent of American orange juice comes from Florida. At least 70 percent of United States’ oranges come from Florida; it shows how Florida Oranges play a vital role in American agriculture.
Kinds of Florida Orange Juice
Today, there are different kinds of Florida orange juice you can see commercially; frozen products, reconstituted, and NFC or not from concentrate.
- Frozen Orange Juice: This form is the cheapest Florida orange juice out there and the one that can last the longest as well. It’s from freshly squeezed Florida oranges to get that concentrated form; then it’s frozen before getting packed into small cans. Consumers can simply dilute them to bring the juice form once again. Due to its properties, this type can allow its consumers to store the juice for long periods.
- Reconstituted Orange Juice: Though coming from a concentrated juice, the process includes diluting them with additives and flavoring. This orange juice is the one you commonly see packed in a carton or bottle.
- NFC or Not From Concentrate Orange Juice: If you want to get the purest form of orange juice, you might want to consider NFCs. Often this juice is the ones made right in front of you; they freshly squeeze the citrus fruit using a citrus juicer then are served in a cup or glass. For people who want a refreshing pulp experience, this type is definitely worth considering.
Florida Orange Value
If we are going to look into a global perspective, Florida’s orange market value is only second to Brazil; this aspect proves how competitive Floridians are in terms of orange juice production. In fact, Florida generates roughly around $9 billion per year just in orange juice production alone. With the money they generate, the whole industry covers at least $1 billion in tax revenue, virtually helping state projects such as schools, roadworks, and healthcare services.
Florida oranges cover at least 569,000 acres, making approximately 74 million citrus trees thrive on the land itself. With the vast numbers taking up the ground, did you know that it contributes to a positive environmental impact? Yes, with how the groves are taking shape, it becomes a natural habitat for wildlife. Plus, studies have shown that these orange trees are producing 16.7 tons of oxygen every year. These points just show how big of a value Florida oranges have become, from the first orange seed thriving in the state of Florida to a billion-dollar industry today. So, Florida will not be just known as a state filled with sandy beaches and natural parks, but a state where a citrus fruit could make waves throughout the country, let alone the world.