Gift Baskets of Florida Oranges Rebound After Sour Year

ORLANDO, Fla. — It’s the time of year when Pamela Martin sees more than gingerbread cookies, candy canes and Christmas wreaths. She also has visions of boxes filled with Florida oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.

At a processing center just west of Orlando, Martin watched over more than 100 busy workers as they loaded thousands of cartons of gift fruit from Florida growers into trucks to deliver to frigid spots across North America — from Washington to Massachusetts — just in time for the holidays.

“This is our busiest time of year, by far,” said Martin, executive vice president of Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association, which sends out the neatly assembled boxes of fruits for its 36 grower-packer members from its facility near Kirkman Road and Colonial Drive. “There’s long been an appeal — and a tradition — with giving fruit for Christmas,” she said. “You’re sitting in the snow, and what’s better than getting a taste of Florida?”

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