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Florida, the world's largest grower of grapefruit, was then hit with devastating hurricanes during back to back harvest seasons, particularly in 2005 with 26 named storms in one season. Infamous Hurricanes including Katrina, Rita and Wilma extensively damaged many grapefruit groves leading to loss of production and higher costs to the consumer for fruit that does make it to the supermarket.
This year, grapefruit is rebounding and making its way back to the spotlight. The Florida grapefruit harvest is expected to almost double from 19 million boxes a year ago to 28 million this year. The industry high was reached in the mid 1990's with some 55 million boxes of grapefruit harvested. The industry is also eagerly awaiting the results of several research studies currently being conducted which could shed light on the grapefruit diet myth, as well as its role in possibly helping prevent certain types of cancer.
"This harvest season, the trees are on the mend and we are producing more grapefruit than we could have imagined after witnessing the destruction," said Daryl Jacobs, an Ocean Spray grapefruit grower in Florida. "Grapefruit has become somewhat of a forgotten fruit in recent years. With more grapefruit available this season, we want people to get reacquainted with the other Florida citrus - the refreshingly healthy grapefruit."
The industry really, really needs a good year, and I need some fresh grapefruit.