Thursday, 2 May 2013

orange picking in florida ♥

my parents have a picture from their first trip to florida over thirty years ago and in the picture they're at an orange farm so adorably in love ♥

lucy's favourite fruit (right now...) is oranges, so i just knew we had to find a farm for her to experience picking where the fruit actual comes from.

since we were staying on sanibel island, 'u-pick citrus' in fort myers was the closest farm i could find. and honestly, i'm so happy we did ♥ we were so excited to go that since our flight arrived early, we couldn't check in for several more hours and the weather was beautiful - we headed straight from the airport to the farm! it was such a fantastic way to start our family trip to florida - lucy absolutely loved the whole experience ♥

the oranges here are all organically grown; no pesticides are used. it's a small farm nestled between other orange farms and looking at the trees all around, you can definitely tell that these are the 'real thing' - they vary in size, even in colour and they aren't the prettiest things you've ever seen - but they are no doubt, hands down the tastiest oranges we've ever had. for $10 we picked a five-gallons bucket worth of oranges - that was somewhere between 60-80 oranges! we ate as much as we could and juiced some of the oranges during our week in florida (that was another bonus about picking them as soon as we arrived to florida - we had enough fruit to last us the whole week!). we then packed the rest in our suitcases and flew them back home (judy mentioned that several people bring oranges back to canada without any trouble claiming them since oranges cannot be picked in canada... apples might be another story...)

it turns out there really aren't a lot of orange farms for the public to pick from... sadly it's a dying attraction as farmers can't afford to farm in such a way or aren't willing to. the couple - bob and judy - plan to continue their u-pick grove for at least a few more years... so please, please... if you have a chance, take your kids to pick their own fruit and experience where their oranges come from. and if you happen to live in florida: the couple also offers tours to groups of people.

a couple of tips if you have the chance to go picking here:
-make sure they are open when you plan on going - we were so lucky: this was their last week of 'u-pick' oranges for the season. (the following week is when they had some 'big company' come and pick all the extra fruit off the trees... and get this: they get the fruit for free as it basically acts as a service to the farm-owners.)
-wear closed toe shoes... since there is no use of pesticides, there are red-ant hills... ouch...
-wear sunblock
-visit hannah the three-legged aligator... yep...
-smell the blossoms... oh. my. goodness... i've never smelled anything so sweet
-bring me back some oranges. please and thank you ♥

u-pick citrus:
18971 misty morning lane... follow the hand-painted signs along the dirt road... from the airport, it is about an hour away (the hour was a perfect time for our lucy to nap after arriving)

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