Florida’s orange is one of the most recognizable symbols of our state. In addition to bright flavorful oranges, Florida has an abundance of ruby red grapefruit, sweet, tangy tangerines, succulent tangelos, lemons and limes.
As a kid growing up in Florida, I remember almost everyone grew citrus in the front or backyards. Traipsing through the neighborhoods, as kids do, we were never without a juicy, healthy snack. When we would visit my grandparents, my brother and I would run throughout their spacious grove, breathing the sweet fragrance of the blossoms while gorging ourselves with fresh picked fruit.
Now is the time to pick your favorite citrus or visit your local grove. Growers report a challenging year, but there’s still plenty left to fill your bag and enjoy Florida’s iconic fruit. If you want to experience this quintessential authentic Florida activity, I highly recommend visiting a Florida grove store whether you pick your own or not.
Years ago, orange groves and U-pick operations were more abundant. Nowadays, land development, insurance liability, foreign competition, citrus diseases and other agricultural woes have reduced the number of smaller family-owned businesses. But take heart, your citrus dreams can still come true. I have located a few remaining family operations that offer the U-Pick experience.