Why It May Be Hard To Find Florida Oranges This Season

The hunt for oranges might be more difficult this time around, and no, it's not because everyone's suddenly making more mimosas than usual. Nor is it due to people suddenly flocking to supermarkets to buy more OJ as a breakfast beverage than usual. In fact, the root of this issue has nothing to do with demand at all, but rather, the conditions in which the trees are planted.

As we know, Florida is known for having an abundance of oranges. The fruit is on its license plate, after all (via Insider). This is due to the state's ideal subtropical climate for growing the citrus fruit, which was planted by European settlers in the mid-1500s, according to Visit Florida. There are many different varieties of Florida oranges, including Navel, Hamlin, Pineapple, Ambersweet, and Valencia.

So why, all of a sudden, is there a shortage of this normally plentiful fruit in the state?

Bacterial infection is the root cause

Citrus greening is to blame for the decline of oranges this year (via Food & Wine). This disease results in smaller oranges that are less pleasant in taste overall. It is spread by an insect known as the Asian citrus psyllid. The disease was first detected in the UnitedĀ States inĀ 2005, and it has no cure.

The effect of this bacterial infection is so severe that California is projected to produce more oranges than Florida this year. Florida is estimated to produce 44.5 million boxes of oranges, versus California, which will likely produce close to 47 million boxes this year.

You'll also either have to stock up on orange juice or give it up for a bit. Prices for the popular beverage are up 5.73 percent, which already jumped from 13.8 percent last year. It's safe to say that now is not the time for heavy consumption of this popular citrus.