US vegetable crops are unexpected victim of virus


(AP) — Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can’t sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus.

In southern Florida, Paul Allen, president of R.C. Hatton Farms, took a video last week of row after row of vibrant green beans that were scheduled to be shipped to the restaurant industry.

Allen, who farms about 12,000 acres in Florida and Georgia, says he is praying that things improve by the time crops in north Florida and Georgia are ready to be harvested over the next two months.

Other states are having similar issues.

Leafy greens in California are being hit hard, and dairy farmers in Vermont and Wisconsin say they’ve had to dump a surplus of milk intended for restaurants.

Many Florida growers have donated to food banks, but there’s a limit on what the charities can accept.

Farmers are scrambling to sell to grocery stores but many already have contracts.

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