U.S.: Florida grapefruit spared by hurricane
Website Theledger.com quoted a citrus grower who manages some 4,000 acres of mostly grapefruit production along the East Coast as saying he had been 'incredibly lucky' the storm moved to the east slightly before hitting the state.
"We missed all that wind and rain, nothing like the surge they got in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida," Indian River Exchange Packers president George Hamner told the publication.
"We were all scared to death before the hurricane. The trees look healthy enough. It looks like the trees survived the sustained higher winds. At the end, we do have our crop. What little damage we have is scattered."
The Indian River area on the East Coast is reportedly one of the state's biggest grapefruit-growing regions.
Florida grapefruit growers feared a repeat of 2004, when numerous hurricanes battered the industry and caused production to fall by almost three-quarters, according to Theledger.com
Hamner declined to estimate a percentage of the grapefruit crop lost immediately to hurricane winds, but he said most trees had dropped as few as five to 10 pieces over the weekend.
He added the hurricane had even less of an impact on local orange groves.
A representative of the Florida Department of Citrus in Bartow agreed the damage had not been as severe as expected.
"Remembering the impacts of 2004, I was pretty worried about what our folks in the Indian River area might face, and it appears the small miracle we all prayed for came to pass," Theledger.com quoted executive director Shannon Shepp as saying.
"Reports from orange growers are optimistic at this point, so all in all, I think we have to say we are much better off than we could have been."
Growers in central Florida reportedly felt even fewer impacts from the hurricane.