Agriculture Press Release

May 1, 2003

Florida to send 1,200 cartons of fresh citrus to U.S. troops abroad

TAMPA – American troops stationed in the Middle East soon will be treated to a familiar taste from back home when nearly 1,200 cartons of fresh Florida citrus are delivered to them courtesy of Florida’s farmers.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson met today with U.S. military officials at the Port of Tampa to present the ceremonial first boxes of fresh Valencia oranges.

“Florida’s farming community is exceptionally proud of America’s military personnel who have performed so brilliantly during the campaign in Iraq,” Bronson said. “We just wanted to let them know that they continue to be in our thoughts and prayers by treating them to a shipment of fresh citrus from the Sunshine State.”

On hand to accept the fresh citrus were: Capt. Jeff Bradley, U.S. Navy, Director, Directorate of Subsistence, Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia; and Lt. Cmdr. Frankie J. Hand, U.S. Navy, Chief, Defense Supply Center in Tidewater, Virginia Beach, which is the main office for airlifts to the Middle East.

The fresh citrus is being donated by SealdSweet, located in Vero Beach, and Noble Worldwide Sales, located in Winter Haven. The 22 pallets -- or 1,188 cartons -- represents approximately 100,000 pieces of fresh fruit. The fruit is expected to be delivered to the military within 10 days; it will then begin its three- to four-week journey by ship to military bases in the Middle East.

The cartons of fresh fruit will bear a specially designed label featuring a colorful, retro-style Florida postcard theme and “Greetings From Your Florida Farmers” and “Florida Agriculture Supports Our Troops.”

The Florida Trucking Association has donated the transportation services required to deliver the fresh citrus to a designated assembly area where it will be transferred to U.S. military officials for shipment overseas.

“We appreciate the efforts of SealdSweet Growers, Noble Worldwide and the Florida Trucking Association in donating the fruit and transportation services,” Bronson said. “They were eager to join us in this public-private effort to show Florida’s gratitude to the fine men and women of America’s military.”

SealdSweet Growers was founded in 1909 as the Florida Citrus Exchange. Today SealdSweet is composed of 250 grower members who produce 22 varieties of citrus throughout Florida. Rich Miller, Vice President of North American Sales, represented the company during Thursday’s presentation.

Noble Worldwide was created by William G. Roe Company in the early 1900s. Craig Merrill represented the company during Thursday’s presentation.

The Florida Trucking Association was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Tallahassee.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Print-quality, high-resolution digital images of the press conference backdrop poster (“Florida Agriculture Supports Our Troops”) and the citrus carton label (“Greetings From Your Florida Farmers”) can be downloaded from the Internet at
florida-agriculture.com/photos. The image file names are 05-01-03a.zip and
05-01-03b.zip .


For more information:
Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022


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