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BUMPER CROP OF FLORIDA CITRUS MEANS

 LAKELAND, Fla., Nov. 16 ~PRNewswire~ -- According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida will produce the third- largest citrus crop in the state's history, which will translate into plentiful, high-quality supplies of oranges, grapefruit and specialty citrus at lower prices.
 "Consumers will notice a difference in the size of this year's citrus crop, as well as the way it is packed," notes Dr. Robert Behr, director of economic research for the Florida Department of Citrus. "When crops are larger than normal, the individual fruit tends to be smaller; but the color, taste and texture of the fruit is excellent and perfect for snacking or juicing. Many grocery stores are planning to take advantage of this situation by bagging Florida citrus in special value-priced 'multi-packs' during the next few weeks."
 Thanks to the large crop, Behr adds that the retail price of fresh Florida citrus is expected to drop to its lowest level in six years. "Based on historical trends and this year's production, we expect retail prices of fresh Florida citrus to drop 5-10 percent and orange juice prices to fall by about 10 percent."
 The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that Florida's 1992-93 orange crop will be up 33 percent over 1991-92, with 186 million boxes harvested. Grapefruit production is expected to be up 27 percent to 54 million boxes. Specialty citrus, including tangerines, tangelos and temple oranges, should be up 15 percent to 8.6 million boxes, and orange juice production up 30.4 percent from last season.
 This year's abundant Florida crop is due both to the recovery of trees from the disastrous 1989 freeze, and the maturation of hundreds of thousands of young trees planted below the state's "freeze line" during the past five years.
 "By situating groves farther south to escape the frost, we can ensure a steady, reliable supply of high quality Florida citrus at more favorable consumer prices for years to come," says Dr. Behr. "This is a real boon for the consumer."
 Florida dominates U.S. citrus production, accounting for three- fourths of the nation's annual citrus crop and more than 94 percent of the orange juice supply.
 -0- 11~16~92
 ~CONTACT: Mary McPartland or Paul Resta both of Hill and Knowlton, Inc., 212-697-5600, for the Florida Department of Citrus~


CO: Florida Department of Citrus ST: Florida IN: FOD SU:

LD -- NY112 -- 1448 11~16~92 16:13 EST
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Date:Nov 16, 1992
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