VERO BEACH, Fla. (December 3, 2008) â€“ The Indian River Citrus League expects one of the highest quality crops in recent years. This vintage crop is due to the superb growing conditions that have existed along the central east coast of Florida during the summer months. The fruit exterior, a full range of sizes, shape, and internal quality have been cited as being exceptional. Approximately 15 million cartons of Indian River grapefruit will be shipped to 24 countries. â€œOur great tasting grapefruit is considered the â€˜Rolls Royceâ€™ of fruit,â€ said Doug Bournique, executive vice president, Indian River Citrus League. â€œDue to heavy rains during Tropical Storm Fay this fall, our current crop is even larger and juicier than usual with an internal eating quality second to none.â€
The Indian River Citrus District is the largest grapefruit producing region in the world, encompassing a narrow strip of land along the eastern seaboard of Florida for 200 miles from Daytona Beach south to West Palm Beach. The district includes nearly 1,000 growers, 145,000 commercial acres and 22 packinghouses which generate an economic impact of $1.2 billion to the state. Seventy percent of Floridaâ€™s grapefruit is produced in the Indian River Citrus District.
Only grapefruit grown in this rich, fertile area can be certified and labeled as Indian River grapefruit. The unique climate of this growing area produces grapefruit that is thin skinned with high sugar content; the premium quality of Indian River grapefruit is recognized around the world.
The Florida Department of Citrus will provide consumers with information about the health and wellness benefits of grapefruit and grapefruit juice during peak grapefruit season, December through March. Print and online advertising, as well as public relations efforts, will target women ages 25 to 44 with nutrition and weight management messages. Shoppers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago will see grapefruit videos in the produce sections of over 700 supermarkets. All marketing efforts will feature a free grapefruit spoon with purchase offer to drive sales.
â€œThis is the best season weâ€™ve had in years for Indian River grapefruit,â€ Bournique commented. â€œOur goal is to reach consumers worldwide with this exceptional crop.â€
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The Indian River Citrus League is the stateâ€™s oldest grower association founded in 1931 with over 1,000 grower members. The League is funded by membersâ€™ per carton contribution on fresh fruit shipments. The League protects the integrity of Indian River citrus and represents membersâ€™ interests in industry and legislative issues.