Lorea Thomson
Posted by Lorea Thomson
Updated on
Published in Communities

South Florida is known for sunshine, beaches and sun kissed oranges. Will another fruit outshine the oranges?   Christopher Columbus brought the first citrus saplings to the “new world”.  Early Spanish explores, quite possibly Ponce de Leon himself, planted the first orange vegetation in St. Augustine. This legacy has blossomed into $9 billion dollar industry. The sunshine state produces more oranges than any other region in the world.

Years ago, “u-pick” orange groves were all over the state. Now they are few and far between. There is nothing is more refreshing than the scent of orange blossoms.  The wonders of a beautiful sunlight grove bursting with bright colors of blue sky, green citrus trees and abundant oranges are impressive. 

Florida has a new emerging, experimental crop of Mediterranean fruit - the olive.  At this time, there are about 300 acres of olive trees growing in Florida and 50 growers. The citrus grove industry cultivates 550,000 acres of land and more than 8,000 growers.  Although there is a growing demand and rise in popularity in olive oil, the Florida Olive Council president, Michael Garcia said, “We do not know, year after year, if you can get olives to bloom and set fruit in sufficient quantities to be able to make money on it.”  The Florida Olive Council has been studying the popular fruit for ten years.  

Will the state make a shift from oranges to olives, only time will tell? The Florida Department of Citrus encourages visitors to the state, as well as residents to tour and visit an orange grove-packing house or tour a grove.  Several of the orange orchards have on site cafes, souvenir shops featuring orange scented candles, honey and more Florida souvenirs with an orange twist. For a map of Florida, citrus groves please see 


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