Coronavirus is disastrous for Florida vegetable industry

Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can't sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus. This means that piles of harvested zucchini and yellow squash ripened and then rotted in the hot Florida sun. Juicy tomatoes have been left to wither in farmers' fields.

Other states are having the same issues — agriculture officials say leafy greens in California are being hit especially hard, and dairy farmers in Vermont and Wisconsin say they have had to dump a surplus of milk intended for restaurants.
Image: Dana Shevtsova

"This is a catastrophe," said tomato grower Tony DiMare, who owns farms in south Florida and the Tampa Bay area. "We haven't even started to calculate it. It's going to be in the millions of dollars. Losses mount every day."

As reported on wcti12.com¸ Florida leads the U.S. in harvesting tomatoes, green beans, cabbage and peppers this time of year. While some of the crops are meant for grocery stores, many farmers cater solely to the so-called food service market — restaurants, schools and theme parks — hit hard as cities and states have ordered people to stay home and avoid others.


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