Farm Fact: Grapefruits in Florida

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ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. (WCJB)-- Florida's subtropical climate with moderate temperatures, abundant rainfall, plenty of sunshine and unique sandy soil help grow the sweetest and juiciest grapefruit in the world. Florida Grapefruit is available in stores from November through May each year. Florida Grapefruit dates back to the 1800s when the state's first grapefruit grove near Tampa Bay. The industry is being impacted by Citrus greening (also known as Huanglongbing or HLB) a disease spread by an insect that feeds on the stems and leaves of the trees, infecting the trees with the bacteria that cause citrus greening ultimately resulting in fewer and smaller fruit over time. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure. In late September Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with members of the Florida citrus industry and international business partners announced the first major grapefruit planting with a quarter-million new trees on 1,500 acres in Florida's St. Lucie and Indian River Counties since citrus greening and hurricane damage wiped away most of the state's grapefruit groves.