Do you like pulpy orange juice or just the regular kind? According to the USDA's latest citrus forecast, you might not be able to get your hands on your favorite citrus products this season due to a shortage of Florida citrus. Even more shockingly, Food & Wine states that Florida’s orange crop will be the smallest it's been since World War II.

The January USDA report estimates that the orange forecast has dropped by 1.5 million boxes compared to December, a sudden change that can be attributed to an invasive disease known as citrus greening. At its peak efficiency, Florida is the biggest producer of citrus nationally, known for pumping out 244 million boxes of the precious oranges. In stark contrast, this season’s prediction is a fifth of that yield, at a disappointing 44 million boxes.

Citrus greening disease, also named Huanglongbing, is spread by a tiny insect known as the Asian citrus psyllid that first began to decimate Florida’s citrus crop in 2005. The aggressive disease spreads rapidly through orchards and leaves each infected tree chronically ill. The only cure is to chop down affected trees. The diseased fruits are small, green, and have little to no value for orange farmers.

“Greening is the most difficult disease to ever impact citrus,” Mike Sparks, the executive director of Florida Citrus Mutual, told the Washington Post. “Greening is the primary cause of the reduction in the number of boxes. We’re going to see prices increase.”

In the past two decades, the demand for orange or citrus juices had fallen due to false diet and health-related claims that demonized the sugar in fruit juice as “bad” and scared consumers from buying the breakfast beverage. But with the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, many concerned consumers took to the grocery store and caused the demand for orange juice to rise exponentially because of the juice’s health benefits in fighting viral infections, such as being loaded with Vitamin C. While Vitamin C alone cannot cure Covid-19, prices for the precious juice have continued to dramatically rise. The average price of orange juice has gone up by 13.8% in 2021 from $2.33 to $2.65 for a 16oz bottle, according to the USDA. With a greater demand for oranges to bolster people's immune systems, a shortage of the pulpy fruit comes at a particularly bad time.

Those bottomless mimosas at Sunday brunch might get more pricey!