This year I am encouraging everyone to make the Cinco de Mayo celebration a “Citrus de Mayo” affair by celebrating citrus’ role in the holiday’s food and culture. My goal is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to United States citrus.
From the limes and oranges we use to marinate the carne asada, and the lime we squeeze over our guacamole and tacos to bring out the flavor, to the delicious margaritas and the lime wedges with which we top an ice-cold beer, citrus is at the center of the festive Cinco de Mayo event.
Cinco de Mayo is just not the same without citrus. With multiple diseases affecting our citrus and the recent confirmation of citrus greening disease in California, our access to U.S.-grown citrus is under serious threat, and with it, many of the foods and festivities we enjoy.
Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB, is one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Once a tree is infected, there is no known cure. Some citrus producing states like California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, have areas under quarantine for citrus greening disease.
Named for the green, misshapen fruit and bitter taste it produces, citrus greening disease has now ruined millions of citrus plants in the southeastern United States. The first case of citrus greening in California was confirmed on March 30, 2012.
So, make sure to go out and celebrate a ‘Citrus de Mayo,’ but remember to think about the importance of citrus and, be sure not to move citrus or citrus plants from areas that are under quarantine.
To learn more, follow us on Facebook.com/SaveOurCitrus and Twitter.com/SaveOurCitrus, or visit the Web site at SaveOurCitrus.org.