Keep the lemonade flowing this Fourth of July! The stars and stripes and fireworks would not be the same without citrus--iced tea with lemon, key lime pie, lemon chiffon cake, fish with lemon, orange sorbet, lemon-garlic chicken and avocado lime salsa. And, as the temperatures rise, kids across American set up makeshift lemonade stands as a favorite way to earn a little spending money. Take time to stop and enjoy a glass.
Make this Fourth of July a celebration of citrus’ role in this holiday’s food and culture. My hope is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to U.S. citrus so Americans can protect the refreshing flavors of summer.
The U.S. citrus crop, valued at nearly $3 billion by USDA, currently faces a threat from four significant citrus diseases. Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB, is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Once a tree is infected, there is no known cure. Some citrus producing states like California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, have areas under quarantine for citrus greening disease. Named for the green, misshapen fruit and bitter taste it produces, citrus greening disease has now ruined millions of citrus plants in the southeastern United States.
So, whether you are hosting a large BBQ or a small picnic, enjoy your lemonade, think about the importance of citrus and be sure not to move citrus or citrus plants from areas that are under quarantine. Also, try the new detection tool, the Save Our Citrus free iPhone app that enables you to identify and report citrus diseases.