BARTOW, Fla. – With Florida Grapefruit season in full swing, the unique taste of Florida-grown citrus is now available in stores around the world.
But, for those who wish to enjoy the sweeter side of nature, a little patience goes a long way.
As temperatures dip, Florida Grapefruit grow sweeter and juicier, reaching peak season beginning in January.
It’s at peak season when Florida Grapefruit really shine.
Extra time spent in Florida’s sub-tropical climate enhances its sweet taste, creating a grapefruit that appeals to a wide range of palates.
“Many regions around the world produce grapefruit,” said Samantha Lane, director of global marketing at the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC). “But the same thing that makes Florida the ideal place to visit is what makes our grapefruit amazing. Our climate can’t be beat.”
Much of Florida’s grapefruit is grown in the Indian River region of the state. Located on the east coast of Florida, the Indian River stretches more than 200 miles south from Daytona to West Palm Beach.
The area is home to the Anastasia Formation, a geologic formation composed of sand and coquina limestone. The formation’s positioning just below ground allows the root system of citrus trees to tap into essential minerals and nutrients during the growing cycle.
Combined with flat terrain and a high water table, these unique attributes create ideal growing conditions for grapefruit and contribute to the fruit’s high quality.
While the landscape is beautiful, the weather can take a toll on the skin of the fruit.
“The sun, humidity, and rains that help enhance the taste of grapefruit during Florida’s growing season can blemish its exterior appearance,” said Katie Bruce, international marketing manager at the FDOC. “I like to remind people that while Florida Grapefruit may not always be the prettiest on the outside, it certainly tastes better.”
The proof is in the response Florida Grapefruit receives worldwide, Bruce said.
Florida growers ship their fruit across the country and around the globe. Half of the Florida Grapefruit grown is shipped out of the United States, including Canada, Europe, and Asia, with Japan being the biggest export market.
Besides great taste, one of the key reasons so many people enjoy Florida Grapefruit is its nutritional benefits. Rich in vitamin C, a medium grapefruit fulfills 100 percent of the daily recommended value.
Because the season is long and the taste of the fruit varies throughout the season, Florida Grapefruit is also a versatile ingredient in many dishes.
“Early in the season, when its sugar content is lower, Florida Grapefruit is a great tangy complement to sweet or salty dishes. Year-round, Florida Grapefruit Juice can be enjoyed alone or as an ingredient,” Bruce said. “But, when Florida Grapefruit is in peak season, there is no better way to enjoy it than with a spoon – no sugar needed.”
–Florida Department of Citrus