Ship Grapefruit in the US
Image by zaveqna via Flickr
The grapefruit is one of the most successful fruits in the history of the United States. Each year, more than one and half million tons are sent across the country and around the world. But the grapefruit was not always popular. In fact, when it first arrived on American shores, locals wanted nothing to do with it.
The grapefruit came to Florida in 1823. At the time, the commercial orange industry had already been established. Still, some enterprising agriculturists believed that the grapefruit could be the crop of the future. They couldn't have been more wrong.
Why did the grapefruit fail in Florida? Perhaps it was because the state was awash in oranges or that it was simply too sour. Whatever the reason, farmers did not ship grapefruit in the state and the dream of a profitable grapefruit industry was put on hold.
It was not until the grapefruit arrived in South Texas in the late 19th century that people began to take note of the subtropical fruit. Though farmers refused to ship grapefruit for sale, many believed it had potential. Perhaps this was wishful thinking. You see, unlike Florida, Texas had no fruit industry and they were in desperate need of new agricultural products. The grapefruit fit the bill. That was until people tasted it.
The first grapefruit crops in Texas were cultivated in 1893, and the locals had much the same reaction as the folks in Florida had had–they thought the fruit was simply too sour. And since sugar was in short supply, there was really no way to make it more appealing to the local population.
For decades, farmers refused to ship grapefruit because they believed they were nothing more than a novelty that would not appeal to the general population. But all that changed in 1929. The discovery of a brand-new variety of sweet grapefruit with red flesh changed the fortunes of the fruit in America.
Suddenly, people were asking farmers to ship grapefruit all over the state. In less than a decade, a massive grapefruit industry was born on the back of the newly christened “Ruby” Red. By 1935, shipments surpassed one million tons. This was virtually unheard of for a fruit that was virtually unheard just a few years before.
Today, the United States dominates the grapefruit market with nearly half of world production. And though Florida would eventually catch and surpass Texas in grapefruit shipments, the Lone Star State still produces the most sought after varieties of Ruby Red in the world.