Once called "the forbidden fruit," the grapefruit was first discovered in Barbados by Griffith Hughes in 1750, but the name "grapefruit" comes from Jamaica. A citrus fruit, the grapefruit is now believed to be a cross between the orange and the pomello, according to Iowa State University Extension. The interior flesh of the grapefruit can come in three different colors, white, pink or ruby, depending on the cultivar. The fruit prefers to grow in warmer regions.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United States is one of the largest producers and the largest exporter of fresh grapefruit in the world. The country exports approximately 40 percent of the world's fresh grapefruit and supplies countries all over the globe. Grapefruit in the United States is typically grown in Florida, Arizona, California and Texas, but many Florida growers are leaving grapefruit production due to the spread of a grapefruit virus, tristeza, which kills the trees. Pink grapefruit is the most popular type of grapefruit grown in the United States.
Other American Countries
Other American countries, like Cuba, Mexico, Argentina and some other South American countries, like Brazil, have also begun growing grapefruit, according to Purdue University's Center for New Crops and Plant Products. Although it is not one of the largest exporters, Cuba is one of the largest producers of grapefruit in the world. The fruit is not popular in Central America due to its acidity, but many smaller producers in South America grow the fruit for local markets.
Many countries featuring subtropical climates, such as Israel, South Africa and India have also entered the grapefruit market. Other than the United States, South Africa and Israel are the largest producers of grapefruit for export in the world. Recently, the grapefruit is also being grown in India. The skin of the grapefruit does not burn in India like the skin of the orange does. The country of Turkey also produces grapefruit, but a majority of the country's grapefruit is used domestically.