The final two decades of the 20th Century are widely regarded as being turbulent, difficult times for Florida's producers of fresh fruits and vegetables. Particularly in southern Florida, urban growth continued to take agricultural land. Environmental regulations constrained farmer activities. Weather, always a variable, brought several severe freezes in the 1980s which destroyed crops and sharply curtailed citrus production north of Orlando. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew wreaked destruction on South Florida crops, destroyed many Lemon trees and nearly wiped out Florida's Lime industry. Perhaps most troubling, at least most newsworthy, it was a time of increasing penetration of U.S. markets by imports. To gain some insights into how Florida producers have fared in the face of these challenges, trends in Florida produce shipments will be examined from 1985 through 1998. In addition to the overall volume of shipments, seasonal patterns will be addressed and information presented on Florida's market share for the nation as a whole as well as sub-regions.


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