Planning to make a trip to Florida during the winter this season? Why not come back with more than a tan? Why not come back with some freshly picked oranges, that you selected off the tree yourself. As a resident of a non citrus grower state and a big fan of u-picking, I have always wanted to go out and pick my own citrus. Although I won’t be making a trip down there this year (unless it was to help a dear friend and his family move back to Michigan) but I was still curious to what the Sunshine state had to offer in the way of u-pick. Unfortunately I didn’t find very much. After quite a bit of searching I only came up with 2 places (see below) that I could confirm that are picking oranges this year.
From what I understand the u-pick citrus biz is not doing well in Florida. Many places have closed or stopped offering u-pick. The economy has played a big part in this. Another big problem has been disease. Greening ,which is a bacterial disease, has forced some citrus growers to shut down u-pick operations (Walkabout Citrus Groves in Minneola, Florida had to close it’s u-pick business.) The disease attacks vascular system of the trees. It forces farmers to pick their oranges as soon as they can, before a tree gets effected.
Here is some information about the two places that I did find online that said anything about having u-pick in 2011-2012. If you know of any other place offering u-pick citrus this year, please leave a comment below.
Showcase of Citrus | 5010 US Highway 27, Clermont, FL 34714
Ridge Island Groves | 6000 Polk City Road, Haines City, FL 33844
Watch the video below if you want to learn more about what greening is.