Hurricane Ian has put the squeeze on Florida’s orange farms — potentially sending the price of juice skyrocketing.
The Sunshine State is expected to produce the smallest orange crop in nearly 80 years after the storm tore through miles of citrus groves last month, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Florida will harvest just 28 million boxes of the fruit this season, down from 41 million last year — and the smallest amount since 1943, according to Bloomberg News.
The agricultural slump could put shoppers in a sticky situation as financial contracts known as futures rose 8% to $1.92 a pound — up 50 % since last year — for orange juice, according to ICE exchange prices cited by the outlet.
The shortage is expected to cause a less-than-sweet jump in national orange juice prices, which had already increased by 2% nationally in the days before the storm.
The fruit production decline was caused in part by the historic 150 mph hurricane, which destroyed citrus trees from Western to central Florida after making landfall on Sept. 28.
This year marked the fourth consecutive annual decline of the crop in Florida, which boasts a $6.7 billion citrus industry.
The hurricane-ravaged state is now the nation’s second leading orange grower behind California.
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