Florida’s Gift Fruit Industry Remains Resilient

Tacy CalliesFresh

gift fruit

Gift fruit shippers occupy just a small niche in Florida citrus, but the sector’s value to the industry is more than annual sales.

For anyone seeking a taste of Florida citrus, regardless of where they are in the United States, gift fruit can be shipped with just a few clicks online or a simple telephone call to a Florida gift fruit shipper. Additionally, gift fruit season also offers a unique experience for those who travel to or live in the Sunshine State. Fresh citrus, juice, tourist knickknacks and Florida wildlife exhibits are just a few of the features that visitors encounter at Florida’s gift fruit stands.

According to Florida citrus grower and gift fruit shipper Pete Spyke, the gift fruit industry has declined over the past 20 years. Currently, it’s estimated that between 750,000 and 1 million packages of gift fruit are sold or shipped each year.

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“Things have been sliding over a period of years, but it’s a good business and we’re still very busy. Bottom line is we’re always going to need good fruit,” Spyke says. “The gift fruit industry has actually weathered storms better than anything else, so I’d say we’re looking forward to some more good years.”

According to Spyke, the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in gift fruit sales — that is, if growers had fruit left to sell. The pandemic hit at the tail-end of the gift fruit season, creating a flurry of activity as people were mail-ordering fruit to be shipped to their homes as they were shuttered in.

Although gift fruit sales saw an increase during the pandemic, retail sales were down. “We missed our biggest two months of the season,” Spyke says. With the stay-at-home order, tourism and traffic decreased, meaning less people visited the gift fruit stands.

Ashley Robinson, AgNet Media communications intern, wrote this article.

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