One of only a handful of orange juice-processing plants left in Florida stopped processing fruit Tuesday in yet another sign of the havoc that imported juice, diseases and Hurricane Irma have had on the fortunes of the state’s signature crop.
Officials at U.S. Sugar-owned Southern Gardens Citrus announced the end of processing at its plant in southwest Florida a month before the start of the next growing season in Florida.
Southern Gardens will have its fruit processed at other plants. It will bring the juice back for storage and then distribution to its customers.
Shipping, growing and research operations also will continue at the plant, company officials said.