US: Ventura County lemon growers see reduced demand

Over the past few weeks, people have flocked to grocery stores to stock up on items like pasta, toilet paper and bottled water. Unfortunately they have not been stocking up on lemons. This which could mean trouble for Ventura County's agricultural sector.

After strawberries, lemons are the second highest-value crop in Ventura County's $2 billion agricultural industry and were a $244 million crop in 2018. But much of that value is reliant on the food service industry, so recent closures of restaurants and other establishments have caused a domino effect for lemon growers.

"More than half of the lemon production goes to food service, and coming on the heels of a couple of bad years from a production standpoint, with the heat waves and drought, it is going to be a really rocky year for the lemon industry," said John Krist, CEO of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County. quoted Glenn Miller, the president of the Saticoy Lemon Association, as saying: "Retail sales went up a little bit but won't replace food service. Overall, prices have dropped 10 to 20%, we're selling less product for less money so revenue is down dramatically."

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