Citrus growers in Florida “dodged a huge bullet” as Hurricane Matthew seems to have caused just minimal crop damage, according to the Indian River Citrus League based in Ft. Pierce, Florida.
Heavy winds from Hurricane Matthew Friday caused some fruit drop in the Indian River citrus area. But the amount of drop was “not catastrophic,” said Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows. “The fact that it stayed offshore helped tremendously,” Meadows said.
Some Indian River growers and packers told Mutual that in addition to fruit drop, there will likely be some wind scarring of fruit. Wind scarring could reduce the percentage of fruit that is shipped fresh because consumers like fruit that is cosmetically pleasing. The Indian River area grows and ships most of the state’s fresh grapefruit.
Meadows said interior growers farther removed from the hurricane’s strong winds seemed to come through the storm in good shape. Most interior fruit is oranges, which are much lighter than grapefruit and therefore less likely to be knocked off the tree. Meadows noted that there’s always the possibility that some interior regions experienced fruit drop or other damage.