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Q&A: Why lemons, limes are no longer grown commercially in Florida

End of lemon, lime growing

Florida's reputation for production of citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines is well-known. But we never hear about lemons and limes grown in Florida. Why? It seems they would grow just as well as other citrus fruits.

Lemons and limes used to be commercially grown in Florida, though not in the same quantities as oranges, for example.

But a hard freeze in the early 1970s hit the lemon industry so hard that commercial growers got out of the business, according to Andrew Meadows, director of communications for Florida Citrus Mutual.

Then about 10 years ago citrus canker killed the commercial lime business, Meadows said.

Oranges, grapefruits and tangerines remain as the backbone of the Florida citrus industry. There are 32 citrus-producing counties in the state, Meadows said, mostly from Polk County south. In those counties are more than 75 million trees planted on 500,000 acres. The industry provides 76,000 jobs and has an economic impact of $9 billion to the state.

Transforming grapes to raisins

How are raisins made?

Most raisins come from seedless grapes grown on vines in large orchards. When the grapes ripen, they are picked and then placed on the ground, on paper trays placed between the vines, and left to dry for two to three weeks.

Then the raisins are placed in large bins, called sweat boxes, to control moisture. They are shipped to packing houses where the stems are removed. The raisins are then washed and packed.

If the raisins have seeds, they then go through a machine with rubber rollers that gently press out the seeds.

It takes about 4.5 pounds of grapes to make a pound of raisins.

Origin of 'jackpot'

What is the origin of the word "jackpot"?

The generally accepted origin of the word jackpot came from American poker tables in the late 1800s, according to the book American Words Origins.

A standard game of that era required a pair of jacks as the minimum hand for a player to make a bet and continue the game.

The winnings started to be called the pot. That morphed into "jacks pot" and eventually "jackpot." It began to be associated with lotteries in the early 1900s, and by the 1940s it was widely seen in print as a definition of having great luck.

How to write to Ellen

Could I please have an address for Ellen DeGeneres? I would like to write to her.

Write to her at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, P.O. Box 7788, Burbank, CA 91522, Attn: Fan Mail.

Q&A: Why lemons, limes are no longer grown commercially in Florida 03/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010 9:55am]
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