Florida citrus is returning. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in December reported that state orange growers, for example, will deliver almost double the number of boxes in 2018-19 over a year ago. Hurricane Irma in September 2017 destroyed groves and knocked fruit from surviving trees. Aside from produce growers taking the hit in the billions of dollars, workers lost a season of anticipated income.
But things look brighter: “We are very optimistic and excited for fruit this season,” said Olivia Shelfer, whose family for several generations has operated Joshua Citrus in DeSoto County. “While it seems the industry is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Irma, we are please to see how the crop is remaining stable and rebounding.”
Fruit on trees means paychecks for those harvesting it. Award-winning photographer Jimmy Peters collected images of grove workers on a recent sunny morning. And we’re sharing a few of those pictures with our readers.