JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Satsuma oranges are a special crop, specific to the gulf coast region.
The Glass family has a five-acre satsuma grove, growing the crop for over 100 years.
“We usually harvest into the 1st of December and have fruit available till around Christmastime. We started today for the first day,” Cherokee Ranch farmer Grant Glass said.
They are still expecting a good harvest this year, but the lack of rain this season has posed a challenge.
“Everybody’s running more irrigation than usual, but the crops appear to be maturing earlier because our irrigation is not as good as God’s water,” Glass said.
Without irrigation, the satsuma crop may have been compromised.
“You have to keep it wet, because once the fruit starts getting ripe and it’s not irrigated the tree will pull the water back out of the fruit and make the fruit dry,” Glass said.
Cherokee Ranch also manages cattle.
Glass added that usually the winter grazing for the cows has been planted by now, but the ground has been far too dry.
Glass said that if the drought continues into the next growing season, then it could pose more serious threats to satsumas.
The Glass family sells its satsuma crop all over Florida, through school districts, and produce distributors in Jacksonville and Orlando.