Citrus growers are expecting to see a huge rise in sales in the coming months as people find ways to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
As fear rises from the spread of COVID-19 across the country, many people have been looking to fresh fruits and vegetables to take in extra nutrients and vitamins.
Oranges have been said to help support a healthy immune system, which can help combat diseases. Orange growers in Florida are seeing their crop as an opportunity to help the fight for staying healthy.
"Florida orange juice is the most nutrient dense juice in the marketplace. Chuck-full, of course, with Vitamin C," CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual Mike Sparks told AccuWeather Multimedia Journalist Bill Wadell.
During cold and flu season the demand for orange juice typically rises, as people seek a dose of vitamin C to help prevent illness. Now with residents being ordered to stay home, orange industry experts are projecting that Americans will be looking for ways to get vitamin C again by drinking more orange juice.
"There's no question in my mind, there's going to be a run on orange juice," said Sparks.
Weather has also helped play a role in helping the orange juice industry this season. The mild winter has kept orange trees healthy and undamaged.
"It was a very, very mild winter. Zero frost. We've had no frost this year whatsoever... Pretty good year for growing oranges," said Archie Ritch, owner of Ridge Island Groves.
This week, temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s F, and over the weekend, could reach near 100 degrees. This is expected to prompt more customers coming in to buy oranges and orange juice.
As for if oranges can help prevent coronavirus, officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) told AccuWeather that other than a general benefit to one's individual health, there is no evidence that orange juice can help prevent COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released blog posts to dispel rumors about coronavirus remedies that were ubiquitous on social media early on in the outbreak. A CDC blog post titled the "Best Remedy for COVID-19 Is Prevention" does not address whether orange juice can boost your immune system directly but stresses the importance of preventative measures such as avoiding close contact with others and proper hand washing and sanitation.
"Don't fall for claims about remedies that will immunize or cure you of the disease. While there isn't currently a vaccine or cure for coronavirus, there is a lot that you can still do to protect yourself and your health. Many of these are common practices that you already do every day," the CDC said.
Reporting by Bill Wadell.