Doug Bournique, executive director of the Indian River Citrus League, says that for about a year now, vegetable growers have been moving in on old citrus land in the northeast corner of Lake Okeechobee.
The land has been out of citrus production for many years, but has grown in popularity with California and Midwest vegetable growers.
Bournique says it all started with the massive drought in California, when the state’s growers needed produce to be grown year-round, but were obviously having difficulties with climate. The growers started looking for warmer climates that never freeze, which are only found in a few places in the United States, he says.
The land in Florida is below the freeze line, so it’s perfect — both climate-wise and price-wise — for vegetable growers. Bournique says the Florida land will allow the growers to triple the amount of crops produced when compared to what they could produce in California alone.
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