Stores keeping eye on Irma's impact on Florida citrus - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Stores keeping eye on Irma's impact on Florida citrus

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

Hurricane Irma certainly took it's toll on the state of Florida and while western Massachusetts won't feel it's impact directly, we could feel it in our wallets.

Florida will be in cleanup mode for months, possibly years to come following Irma.

"It's a little early to tell yet.  A lot of the guys with the orange and citrus groves down there haven't made it out to survey the damage," said Andy Ladas, produce manager at Atkins Farm in Amherst.

While Floridians may be more focused on making sure a roof is over their head, those not impacted directly by the storm's wrath will have a different concern soon.

"A lot of the stuff is still probably on the green side.  That could work in their favor, but if the inevitable happened and a lot of the citrus was lost you can expect prices, we'll feel it down the road mid October-November," Ladas added.

Ladas has felt the impact of southern storms indirectly for 10 years and he said that prices on citrus will rise with demand.

"We try to do a 99 cent sale right through the year.  We will see how that goes.  It may have to be $1.49, $1.79 a pound," Ladas said.

While Florida was whacked by the storm, there is a silver lining and that is native citrus fruits peak time for growing doesn't start for about a month.

"Especially right through December and early January, that's main Florida citrus season," Ladas explained.

In the meantime, western Massachusetts produce markets can rely on imports, which are in good supply.

"When the USA is kinda out, usually late spring throughout the summer, we call them imported citrus and they come anywhere from Chili, Peru, and you even see South African navels," Ladas said.

Ladas told Western Mass News that while they will always have supply, this is a business after all.

"If there's a demand for them, they're going to raise their price," Ladas noted.

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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