Uncle Matt’s Production Team Works Around the Clock to Prevent Crop Damage as Bitter Cold Temps Blast Central Florida
December 14, 2010 — Clermont, FL — Uncle Matt’s production team worked overnight to protect over 1,000 acres of organic citrus crops during an unusual arctic blast that plummeted Central Florida temps to the 20s, shattering records across the state.
Initial reports indicate that day one of freezing temperatures caused some damage to the fruit. “Temperatures were below freezing and got as low as 24 degrees, but the duration was not below 28 degrees for any period long enough to cause substantial damage, “ says Matt McLean, CEO and founder of Uncle Matt’s Organic. “However, we did experience some damage in low-lying cold areas,” he said.
To minimize the freeze’s damaging effects, Uncle Matt’s production team ran micro-irrigation sprinklers mid way through the night and early morning. McLean adds, “It was not as windy as originally forecasted, which allowed us to run our micro-jet irrigation. This helped our cold protection efforts.” Says McLean, “Using irrigation during a freeze actually helps generate heat that releases when water turns from a liquid to a solid. This helps protect the trees.”
Citrus crops typically experience damage when the temperatures drop to 28 degrees or lower for more than four consecutive hours. Florida’s citrus industry produces more than three-quarters of the U.S. orange crop, and accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s orange juice supply.
As of right now, the Production Team’s efforts appear to have had a positive effect. Uncle Matt’s also reports that the trees themselves fared well, and there are no reports of tree damage and little, if any, leaf damage despite a night of cold, freezing temperatures.
With day one of a two-day chill over, the Uncle Matt’s Team is optimistic. Temperatures are not expected to dip further tonight, and calmer winds will mean that the micro-jet irrigation efforts will be even more effective at reducing crop damage.
Uncle Matt’s Organic is a Florida-based, family-owned company offering premium quality organic citrus juices and organic produce. All Uncle Matt’s products have no synthetic additives or preservatives. To further assure high quality standards, the juice is certified Kosher and Pareve by Orthodox Union. Produce and finished products are produced under the strict regulation and guidelines of Quality Certification Services, the largest and most respected organic certifier in Florida. Products are available in health food stores and at Whole Foods and other supermarkets nationwide. The company is an active member of Organic Trade Association (OTA) and supports the Organic Farming Research Foundation.
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