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From the Concentrate Revolution to the Decline of Florida Citrus

During World War Two, scientists developed techniques to create "frozen concentrated orange juice" (FCOJ) without significantly altering the taste. The impetus for FCOJ came first from the wartime demands of America's allies in Europe, who struggled to provide adequate Vitamin C to troops on the battlefield. After the war, FCOJ allowed distributers to greatly increase the market for "fresh" Florida orange juice. The ability to ship FCOJ, combined with growing consumption of frozen foods, led to a massive increase in citrus production. Citrus production in Florida increased from 43 million boxes in 1945 to 72 million in 1952. About half of all fruit became FCOJ in the 1950s. By the 1990s, nearly 90% of all citrus grown in Florida reached consumers in the form of frozen concentrated orange juice.

Gentile packing-house: Haines City, Florida (1932)

Gentile packing house: Haines City, Florida (1932)

Image number: FR0692

Winter Haven Citrus Growers Association packing house: Winter Haven, Florida (1937)

Winter Haven Citrus Growers Association packing house: Winter Haven, Florida (1937)

Image number: FR0642

Florida Machinery Compnay: Lucerne Park, Florida (ca. 1930s)

Florida Machinery Company: Lucerne Park, Florida (ca. 1930s)

Image number: FR0708

General note: The machine is a juicer.

Adams packing house for oranges and grapefruit: De Leon Springs, Florida (ca. 1940s)

Adams packing house for oranges and grapefruit: De Leon Springs, Florida (ca. 1940s)

Image number: PR01628

Roadside fruit stand (ca. 1940s)

Roadside fruit stand (ca. 1940s)

Image number: RC13313

Employees of the Florence Citrus Growers Association packing boxes: Winter Haven, Florida (1943)

Employees of the Florence Citrus Growers Association packing boxes: Winter Haven, Florida (1943)

Image number: FR0733

Frozen citrus concentrates in cold storage: Haines City, Florida (1946)

Frozen citrus concentrates in cold storage: Haines City, Florida (1946)

Image number: C003999

Tourists picking tangerines in a citrus grove: Winter Haven, Florida (1946)

Tourists picking tangerines in a citrus grove: Winter Haven, Florida (1946)

Image number: C004098

American Bakeries Company shopfront and fruit stand: Jacksonville, Florida (1948)

American Bakeries Company shop front and fruit stand: Jacksonville, Florida (1948)

Image number: SP00244

Bird's Eye orange juice (ca. 1950)

Bird's Eye orange juice (ca. 1950)

Image number: RC15590

General note: Orange juice cans are being filled with slushy orange juice concentrate. The cans will then be sealed and quick-frozen.

Unloading of Florida fruit at a concentrate plant (1953)

Unloading of Florida fruit at a concentrate plant (1953)

Image number:RC15577

General note: The fruit will be washed, graded and squeezed. The juice will then be processed and stored for future orders or sent to market. Each load of fruit is selected at the peak of maturity to produce the best citrus juice.

Dump trucks bring citrus fruit to Minute Maid frozen juice plant: Apopka, Florida (1963)

Dump trucks bring citrus fruit to Minute Maid frozen juice plant: Apopka, Florida (1963)

Image number: C621181

Since the 1960s Florida citrus has entered into another stage of development, marked by a reduction in acreage and production. The decline of citrus in Florida stems from increased commercial and residential land development in the Sunshine State. As Florida's population increased steadily following World War Two, the amount of land dedicated to citrus cultivation rapidly decreased. For example, Orange County, Florida, home of Disneyland and Orlando, produced 95% less citrus in 1990 than in 1970. The panoramic views of citrus groves below now exist only in memory for many Floridians.

Citrus Tower: Clermont, Florida (ca. 1956)

Citrus Tower: Clermont, Florida (ca. 1956)

Image number: PR01787

Aerial view showing orange grove being sprayed: Winter Garden, Florida (between 1951 and 1968)

Aerial view showing orange grove being sprayed: Winter Garden, Florida (between 1951 and 1968)

Image number: N049179

Aerial view of orange grove: Winter Garden, Florida (between 1951 and 1968)

Aerial view of orange grove: Winter Garden, Florida (between 1951 and 1968)

Image number: N049181

Aerial view of gift shop and citrus groves from atop of the Citrus Tower: Clermont, Florida (ca. 1960s)

Aerial view of gift shop and citrus groves from atop of the Citrus Tower: Clermont, Florida (ca. 1960s)

Image number: N029145

Bird's eye view overlooking orange groves (Between 1951 and 1968)

Bird's eye view overlooking orange groves (Between 1951 and 1968)

Image number: N049153

Lakes and Orange groves: Clermont, Florida (ca. 1956)

Lakes and Orange groves: Clermont, Florida (ca. 1956)

Image number: PC5952

Tourists in jeep watch workers picking fruit in an orange grove: Florida (ca. 1960s)

Tourists in jeep watch workers picking fruit in an orange grove: Florida (ca. 1960s)

Image number: C672017

Citrus groves in central Florida (1966)

Citrus groves in central Florida (1966)

Image number: FPS1499