A Great Florida Freeze
In January 1977, Florida experienced several days of hard freezes, resulting in the loss of acres upon acres of Florida citrus trees. Farmers did whatever they could to protect their crops leading up to the freeze. Local photographer John Jernigan remembers he and his brother helping to place these smudge pots in the family’s groves in an attempt to keep the air temperature surrounding the fruit from hitting the freezing mark. This unique image was captured by John’s dad, Jim Jernigan. The 1977 freeze was comparable to the 1962 freeze, which was classified as an “impact” freeze for the state, meaning it caused catastrophic damage to trees and fruit in our state.