Citrus in Crisis

photo 1Here’s a project I worked on this summer. It’s about a tiny insect that’s transmitting a deadly bacteria to Florida’s citrus trees. People here are very worried.

“…now the $9 billion industry is facing its biggest threat yet, putting at risk the state’s economy and very identity. Blame a mottled brown bug no bigger than a pencil eraser and a disease called “the yellow dragon.”

I remember when I first moved to Florida, and a colleague at the then-St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) took me to a friend’s ranch. We picked some fresh oranges and squeezed the life out of them. Then we mixed the juice with vodka. Yum.

One of my favorite parts of this project was researching the history of Florida citrus. Walt Disney’s parents once farmed citrus in Florida. So did Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Video from the AP’s Tony Winton:

Photo by the AP’s Lynne Sladky: 460x

“Right now, wouldn’t you enjoy a cool, refreshing glass of pure Florida orange juice? Of course you would.”