When I think of fresh oranges and grapefruit I think of sunny Florida. Visitors on vacation will discover roadside stands and farm markets with a bounty of fresh Florida citrus and other locally grown produce. Florida growers produce several types of citrus including Oranges, Grapefruit and specialty fruit like Temple Oranges, Tangelos and Tangerines. Most citrus is now grown in the southern two-thirds of the Florida peninsula, where probability of freezing temperatures is lowest, although Polk County in Central Florida remains the top citrus producing county in the state.
Years ago there were many U-Pick Florida orange groves where you could fill a bucket of sweet citrus. Now there are only a handful of family owned farms where you can pick your own. Don’t despair, there are still plenty of citrus markets where you can purchase fresh already-picked citrus like oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, tangelos, lemons and limes. We found three citrus groves where you can still get the authentic Florida u-pick experience. Before visiting these farms it is best to contact them for picking dates and times.
U-Pick Citrus – Fort Myers, FL
U-Pick Citrus is the only pick your own citrus grove left in the southern part of Florida. They grow oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons and limes and have about 2,500 trees. The citrus season begins in December and ends in April. No pesticides or chemicals are used on the fruit making it a safe environment for an afternoon picking citrus. They have visitors from all over the country and sometimes even from other countries to pick fresh oranges right off the tree. You are sure to get a real Florida orange picking experience at U-Pick Citrus. U-Pick Citrus 18971 Misty Morning Lane Fort Myers, Florida 33913
Showcase of Citrus – Clermont, FL
Just down the road from the Magic Kingdom, Showcase of Citrus is a sunny respite from the fast pace of everyday (and vacation day) life. Stroll through acres and acres of groves, check out the over 50 varieties of citrus, ripe for the picking and spread out your blanket for a picnic. In addition to picking your own citrus they have recently added u-pick blueberries and blackberries. Stop by and see them for a relaxing day in the grove and remember – admission is free! A fruit lover’s paradise. Showcase of Citrus 5010 US Highway 27 Clermont, Florida 34714
Dooley Groves – Ruskin, FL
U-Picking at Dooley Grove is a true Florida attraction. Get the freshest citrus fruit available from mid-November through April. There’s plenty to pick, they are Florida’s largest U-Pick Honeybell Grove with over 6,500 Honeybell trees to pick in season. The Honeybell picking frenzy usually begins the day after Christmas and lasts through January and February and maybe into March. Early-Spring varieties, such as Tango seedless Tangerines, Honey Murcott Tangerines and Ortanique Oranges are available in mid-February, March and April. So, throughout the Citrus Season, there’s always a sweet variety for you to pick. It’s easy and it’s fresh-picked FUN at Dooley Groves! Dooley Groves 1651 Stephens Rd, Ruskin, Florida 33570
Find Florida Citrus Online
Visit a Florida citrus grove in person and take a bag of fresh oranges home to friends and family. FloridaCitrus.org has an amazing list of Florida Citrus Growers offering retail fruit stands, gift baskets and online ordering. Looking for a unique gift idea, take a look at all the growers offering a variety of boxes and gift baskets filled with premium Florida Citrus, all hand-selected at the peak ripeness by a Florida gift fruit shipper.