Invasive Fruit Fly in South Florida Hurting Local Charities

Invasive Fruit Flies Down South Hurt local Packinghouse
Posted at 3:42 PM, Oct 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-15 06:52:52-04

QUINCY, Fl. (WTXL) -- Last month, Florida Agriculture officials in Miami declared a state of emergency, after an Oriental fruit fly infestation was discovered and a local charity is facing the consequences.

The infestation has caused serious problems for Farm Share. Dave Reynolds, the facility manager, says that they have lost around 141 tons of product that is supposed to be transported from South Florida to Quincy. He says this situation is the worst Farm Share has seen.

The Oriental fruit fly, as the name suggests, is not native to Miami. And it is wreaking havoc on crops in South Florida. Officials in Miami have quarantined a section of farm land because of the fruit fly infestation. This quarantine coincides with when harvest begins down south and is expected to last through the harvest period for many of the crops Farm Share grows.

This is hurting the Quincy location because they rely on food being transported from Miami-Dade to Quincy. And with less available, that means this branch can't donate as much as the community needs.

"It's very frustrating", said Reynolds. "We're used to giving out anywhere from 1,000-1,500 pounds per agency per day that come through our drive in the morning. Now we're down to 500 to 800 pounds just so we can stretch it as far as we can."

Reynolds worries about not having enough product, so they now have to go to different states to get food. "We've gone up to Tennessee and brought down yogurt. Just recently, we brought in three tractor trailers of baby food out of New York. At a cost of $3,100 a truck load."

The longer travel distances increase the overall expenses paid by the Quincy Farm Share branch. If this problem continues, there may be larger problems with people in need not being able to get food.

Reynolds says that the local branch is accepting produce or monetary donations. To learn more about Farm Share, log on to their website here.