Florida Freeze Threatens OJ

As bitterly cold temperatures descended across the U.S. this week, even the Sunshine State felt the chill. Temperatures dropped below freezing across much of Central Florida on Wednesday and Thursday night, threatening the state’s crops.

Growers attempted to protect their plants by spraying them with water, forming a protective cocoon of ice, but temperatures as low as 25 degrees may have damaged their oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, and other crops.

Futures markets on frozen concentrated orange juice reacted sharply to the weather, cracking to a one-month high on Friday over $1.45 per pound. It may be a while before citrus growers can fully assess the damage, potentially making the OJ futures volatile.