Originally grown as an ornamental plant for its attractive evergreen leaves, Florida grapefruit didn’t earn a place at American tables until the late 1800s. Botanists believe the unusual citrus fruit originated in Jamaica as a naturally-occurring, accidental hybrid of oranges and the Jamaican pummelo, a pear-shaped citrus fruit originally native to Southeast Asia. The tangy fruit’s name comes from the grapefruit tree’s habit of producing globes of fruit at the ends of branches in grape-like clusters.
The grapefruit’s tangy tartness soon made this Florida citrus fruit popular throughout the U.S. Today, America is the world’s foremost grapefruit producer, producing three times more grapefruit than any other country. In the U.S., Florida leads the country in grapefruit production, producing 80% of America’s grapefruit crop. The Florida grapefruit season runs from November through May, although the season for Marsh white grapefruit is slightly shorter than the season for Florida ruby red grapefruit and Florida star ruby grapefruit.
Florida grapefruit is a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber food. A whole Florida grapefruit has only 36 calories. Rich in vitamin C, Florida grapefruit is also an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, folate, vitamin B5, and disease-fighting antioxidants. Pink-fleshed Florida ruby red grapefruit and Florida star ruby grapefruit are also rich in lycopene which may reduce the risk of prostate cancer
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