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California is Largest Producer of Lemons in United States

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Lemon trees were initially grown by the Spaniards in California in the mid 1700s. The commercial lemon industry in California began shortly after the gold rush of 1849 when many prospectors and minors developed scurvy due to lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. The few lemons that were available sold for very high prices because many of the Forty-niners knew that daily rations of lemon juice prevented scurvy. By 1880, the production of lemons was well established in southern California. Shortly thereafter, the growth of the industry was stimulated greatly by the construction of the transcontinental railway system which made it possible to ship the fruit to populous eastern cities.

Today, California is the largest producer of lemons in the United States, producing over 90 percent of total production. Of the total production of lemons in California, approximately a third is processed into lemon juice, fresh, canned, concentrated and frozen, or dehydrated and powdered, which is primarily used for lemonade, in carbonated beverages, or other drinks.

The United States ranks fifth in the world in lemon production behind India, Argentina, Spain and Iran.


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