Authentic Travel

Florida Orange Picking

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It's Florida citrus season

Florida's orange is one of the most recognizable icons 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.

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Picking Florida oranges

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 orange grove whether you pick your own or not.

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Florida Orange Grove

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. 

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Lake County Family Grove

Most U-Pick businesses are mom n’ pop outfits. The bonus is that your visit will involve a drive through the countryside, and the air will be fragrant with the scent of orange blossoms. You will feel as if you have been transported to “Florida’s past.”

Often, the orange grove and property double as home to the owners. You may have to ring a bell or greet the family dog to get anyone’s attention. Once the owner greets you, he or she will indicate where to pick, depending on the season and your preferences. Buckets (resembling pickle buckets) will be lined up outside, generally resting on a luggage tote rack, so you can pull it along as you pick. 


Boyett's Citrus Grove, photo courtesy, Diane Bedard

After receiving your instructions, you’ll walk up and down tree-lined aisles looking for the best fruit. For the harder-to-reach fruit a pole with a hook on the end may be provided to make it easier. Just reach and tug. It falls to the ground with a “thump” and you’ll be one or two oranges richer.

Depending on the season and the grower’s selection, there’s plenty to choose from. Usually, from November through April, weather permitting, you’ll find a wide variety. During the holiday season the navel oranges are your best pick. From November through April you can enjoy tangerines, tangelos and grapefruit. Valencia oranges are plentiful from March through April/May.


Bob Johnson, U-Pick Citrus, Ft. Myers

U-Pick Citrus, Ft. Myers

Owned and operated for over 30 years by Bob and Judy Johnson of Fort Myers, this family-owned U-Pick Citrus farm will delight your authentic funny bone.

Follow the funky road signs and dirt road, and you’ll meet Bob Johnson and Little Bob (his dog). You’ll soon be standing in a makeshift open-air eclectic garage and fruit stand. Bob has creatively decorated the corrugated building with a menagerie of collected road signs and license plates surrounded by rows of beautiful citrus.

Bob instructs visitors to fill a five-gallon bucket with whatever fruit is on the trees – oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons or a combination. A full bucket of fruit is $10. Cash only.

Bob and Judy designate one-third of their proceeds to charity and have an honor system if they aren't available. Special added note: No pesticides are used by the Johnsons.

Address: 18971 Misty Morning Lane, Estero (Ft. Myers)

Open: December-April

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10:00-4:00 pm; closed Sundays, Mondays & Tuesdays

Phone: 239.657.4996

Email: u.p.citrus@gmail.com

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Showcase of Citrus, Clermont

The Showcase of Citrus

Located just 15 minutes from Orlando, try the Showcase of Citrus.  Owner John Arnold’s family has owned Florida citrus and cattle land since 1961. In 1989, John converted 70 acres of the family’s 2,500 acres to U-Pick, with nearly 40 varieties of citrus in addition to other fruit (blackberries, blueberries).

You can pick by the bushel or by the pound. If you pick by the bushel, you’re entitled to another ¼ bushel free.  The grove provides carts or you can ride a shuttle if you prefer not to walk.

The Showcase of Citrus also has an Old Tyme Country Store for fresh juice, BBQ, vintage sodas, ice cream and gifts – including an especially good marmalade.

The operation also offers an Eco-tour and Safari shuttling guests through the adjacent ranching operation. From the swamp vehicle, you’ll get an up-high overview of the groves, oak and pine scrub habitat, upland palmetto, cattle and wooded swamps, which serve as the headwaters of the Everglades watershed.

Address: 5010 US Highway 27, Clermont

Open: 7 days a week (when citrus season is over, other fruit will be available)

Hours: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Phone: (352)394-4377

Tips for going to a U-Pick Grove

Consider wearing closed shoes and slacks or jeans. Ants are part of Florida’s countryside, so avoid sandals. I recommend wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from branches and of course, always wear sunscreen.  Have fun, you’re in for a “real” Florida treat.

Purchasing Fresh Citrus from the Grove

If you’re not interested in the U-Pick experience but want to purchase fresh fruit, consider visiting a retail establishment connected to a Florida grove. Most are family owned and operated. Below is a list of groves offering Florida citrus.

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Picture courtesy of Albritton Fruit Co., Sarasota

Florida Citrus Groves

Albritton Fruit Company, Sarasota 

(941)923-2573

5430 Proctor Road, Sarasota

Al’s Family Farms, Ft. Pierce 

(800)-544-3366  or (772)-460-0556

2001 N. Kings Hwy., Ft. Pierce

Boyett's Citrus Attraction, Brooksville 

(352)796-2289

4355 Spring Lake Highway

Brown's Grove, Parrish

(941)776-2710

12255 U.S. 301, Parrish

Cee Bee's Citrus

(866)248-7870

16907 Boy Scout Rd. Odessa

The Citrus Place, Terra Ceia (no website)

(941)722-6745

7200 US 19th North, Terra Ceia

Countryside Citrus, Vero Beach  

(772)581-0999

6325 81st Street, Vero Beach

Crisafulli Groves, Merritt Island 

(321)452-8110 

5515 N. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island

Davidson Brothers, Daytona Beach

(386)252-7462

248 So. Beach Street, Daytona Beach

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Ferris Groves, Floral City 

Dooley Groves, Sun City

(813)645-3256

1651 Stephens Road, Sun City

Ferris Groves, Floral City 

(352)860-0366

7607 So. Florida Ave., Floral City

Joshua Citrus, Arcadia

800-749-8219

4135 SE County Rd 760, Arcadia


Wall art, Nokomis Groves, Nokomis

Harvey’s Groves, (3 locations) Rockledge, West Melbourne, Cocoa Beach

3700 S. US 1, Rockledge, (321)636-6072

1215 W. New Haven Ave., West Melbourne, (321)952-0994;

3811 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach, (321)783-8640; (800)327-9312 

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Mixon Fruit Farm, Citrus Packaging Area

Mixon Fruit Farm, Bradenton 

(941)748-5829

2525 27th St. East, Bradenton

Neukom Groves, Zephyrhills

(813)782-5596

5409 Gall Blvd., Zephyrhills

New River Groves, Davie

(954)581-8630

5660 Griffin Rd., Davie


Many citrus groves allow you to select your fruit

Nokomis Groves, Nokomis

(941)488-5274

111 So. Albee Farm Rd., Nokomis

Peterson Groves, Vero Beach 

(772)562-6900

3375 66th Ave., Vero Beach

 
Florida orange groves offer citrus tastings, Policicchio Groves

Policicchio Groves, Merritt Island

(321)452-4866

5780 N. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island

Reeds Groves, Weirsdale

(352)821-2915

Schacht Groves, Vero Beach

6100 12th St., Vero Beach

Note: Feb-March Schacht Groves provides tours/U-Pick


Wall art, Nokomis Groves, Nokomis

Soggy Acres, Winter Park (soileau.mj@gmail.com, honor system)

(407)443-3808

100 Tuskawilla Rd., Winter Park

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Note: This list is not intended to be inclusive of all Florida citrus retail stores. Please email us your favorite citrus store to Robin@AuthenticFlorida.com


About the Author: Robin Draper is a Florida native and blogger devoted to the simple and delightful pleasures for Florida living. This article is connected to Robinís profile.

Talk About This Post on Authentic Florida
Cyndi --In the Ft. Myers are try U-Pick Citrus in Ft. Myers.
Posted by Robin Draper on February 10, 2016 at 11:44 am
 
Any u-pick groves(organic especially) near Ochopee/Big Cypress Preserve,Sanibel, Homestead,Key Largo? We are coming from Indiana tomorrow & are bad at FL geography ! Thanx !! (:
Posted by cyndi on February 10, 2016 at 10:44 am
 
Jean, try: Dooley Groves, Cee Bee's Citrus, listed above...have fun
Posted by Robin Draper on February 9, 2016 at 11:08 am
 
Hi
Traveling there from Canada and wanted to take my kids on a citrus upick trip. We will be staying in Seminole area, is there any close to there? We have a car so will not be a problem to drive somewhere for an experience.
Posted by Stephanie on February 9, 2016 at 10:55 am
 
U Pick Citrus in Ft. Myers is the only one I know of Jean. See above. Robin
Posted by Robin Draper on February 1, 2016 at 10:38 am
 
Hi,
Looking for pick your own citrus in southwest FL. Especially Honeybells. Any info is much appreciated!
Posted by Jean on February 1, 2016 at 9:31 am
 
Hi Pam,
This is the only one I could find:
http://www.alsfamilyfarms.com
Posted by Robin Draper on January 31, 2016 at 3:29 pm
 
Hi Anjiani, Here's my best bet for you:
Davidson Brothers, Daytona Beach
(386)252-7462
248 So. Beach Street, Daytona Beach
Posted by Robin Draper on January 16, 2016 at 1:19 pm
 
Hi Robin, I stumbled upon your article by chance. Very impressed, I read this with my kids and learned so much about our own backyard. I live in St. Augustine, can you recommend some fruit (orange) picking farms near here. Thanks! Anjani
Posted by Anjani on January 16, 2016 at 10:25 am
 
Madeleine, you may be referring to the honey bells.
Posted by Robin Draper on January 7, 2016 at 10:25 pm
 
When we use to go to your store on Highway 192 in Melbourne,we would buy orange juice and oranges. These oranges were big,very juicy and sweet. I forgot the name of these oranges;could you please tell me the name of these oranges
Posted by Madeleine Beaudry on January 7, 2016 at 6:41 pm
 
Hello, we will be visiting family in Bowling Green, and was wondering if you would know the nearest one to that city? This seems like a lot of fun!
Posted by Erika on January 3, 2016 at 5:27 pm
 
Hi Kristina, here's the one I know of, but call first:
New River Groves, Davie
(954)581-8630
5660 Griffin Rd., Davie
Posted by Robin Draper on January 1, 2016 at 8:56 pm
 
Hi, we are going to Fort Lauderdale in just two weeks. Is there a pick-your-own orange place nearby? Thank you!
Posted by Kristina on January 1, 2016 at 2:12 pm
 
Tammy, here's another: http://www.mixon.com
Posted by Robin Draper on December 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm
 
Hi Tammy,

Try this one: Cee Bee's Citrus
(866)248-7870
16907 Boy Scout Rd. Odessa
Posted by Robin Draper on December 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm
 
Hi Robin, Merry Christmas. I will be traveling to St. Petersburg the 2nd week in January to visit my parents. Are there any groves near there, I would love to go orange picking with my mom. Thanks!
Posted by Tammy on December 24, 2015 at 4:03 pm
 
Darlene, I suggest you call Harvey's Groves. There may be some in the Indian River area that are small and family owned.
Good luck!
Posted by Robin Draper on November 7, 2015 at 8:05 pm
 
Is there any groves near Brevard County that have "you pick" on pickers? I want to take my 5 yr old grandchildren out to the groves so they can learn about the oranges. Thanks
Posted by Darlene on November 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm
 
Hi Ben,
I would bet that the town of Homestead has many groves. You might want to google that area. Also, be sure to stop at Robert is Here Fruit Stand in Homestead. The above citrus outlets are my entire list! Have fun on your trip!
Posted by Robin Draper on October 20, 2015 at 8:24 pm
 
Hi Robin,
We'll be traveling from Canada in December and are very much hoping we can stop in along the way between Miami and the Keys to pick our own citrus. Do you know where the nearest/best place would be to do that? Kind regards,
Posted by Ben on October 20, 2015 at 11:47 am
 
Well thanks Sue Corbin, we just added Reeds Citrus!
Posted by Robin Draper on June 1, 2015 at 10:38 am
 
You left out Reed's Citrus. They came from Maine in the mid 1800's to Marion Co, started growing citrus and still are!
Posted by Sue Corbin on June 1, 2015 at 10:12 am
 
Hi Tami, try New River Groves in Davie. While not close, it's the only one I know of over there. Good luck!
Posted by Robin Draper on March 30, 2015 at 6:22 pm
 
This looks like so much fun. We are visiting in DelRay Beach. Is there any place near by to pick from?
Tami at tiasam@comcast.net
Posted by Tami Powell on March 30, 2015 at 3:52 pm
 
We are in Palm Beach county looking for oranges to take home.Are
there any groves here to purchase. Thank you.Fran Foster rff19@aol.com
Posted by foster on March 21, 2015 at 4:31 pm
 
Thank you Edye! So glad you liked it. Love picking Florida citrus!
Posted by Robin Draper on March 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm
 
Loved this article...what a great bunch of information for us once we move down there....Thanks so much...
Posted by Edye on March 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm