Pomegranates, a possible cash crop here in Florida? - FOX 13 News

Pomegranates, a possible cash crop here in Florida?

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

This is the time of year pomegranates begin showing up in fruit stands and on store shelves.  Most of the ones we get in Florida are from California, but that may change if scientists from the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center have any thing to do with it.

They are working with local growers in search of pomegranates that can be grown here commercially.

Emory McTeer has about four dozen varieties on his farm.

"Some of the varieties on our farm, we don't seem to get fruit right now," he said. "And other ones are fruiting quite well."

Pomegranates have been grown in backyards from the Panhandle to Fort Myers for more than 100 years, but they have never been grown commercially on a larger scale. In recent years, Florida growers have become interested in them because of the pressure put on the industry lately by diseases such as canker and greening.

Professor Emeritus at the Research and Education Center, Dr. Bill Castle, says Florida will never compete with the large scale operations in California. But he hopes Florida will eventually be able to get into the running.

"We are looking to see what is possible as a small farm operation," he said.

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