Citrus still lives in Orange County at Hollieanna Groves

Posted bySamuel West Posted onJanuary 8, 2024 Comments2

Once upon a time, citrus fruit trees covered numerous spaces in Orange County. The citrus industry became king, but unfortunately, as time passed, frigid temperatures froze citrus trees, and they became difficult to maintain. What used to be a lucrative business in Florida was almost eradicated due to climate change and citrus diseases such as citrus greening and citrus canker. There was hope for a while, but sadly, as time grew, many citrus farmers were forced out of business, and later, the citrus industry slowly vanished. In Central Florida, citrus is almost nonexistent. I remember that very moment, taking a Sunday drive with my mom and grandmother through an area that I believed was near¬†Clermont, and the euphoric fragrance of citrus pleasantly filled the car cabin. I can still sense the aroma of it. At the time, I didn’t know the importance of an orange, lemon, or grapefruit. It was just a fruit I enjoyed many times because I was lucky enough to have three orange trees in my backyard, which I definitely took for granted. I look back and know now that I was blessed to have such a gift. A gift planted and nourished by my family for my family. At winter time, it was always time to pick the fruit and make freshly squeezed orange juice in the kitchen. We had the sweetest oranges in the neighborhood. In fact, we might have been the only family in the neighborhood lucky enough to have mature orange trees that yield a great deal of fruit annually. Juveniles near my house at the time would jump over the fence and take oranges from our trees. They couldn’t resist the bright orange color that glistened on sunny winter days, and the fragrant smell lured them in like a mouse that fell weak from the irresistible scent of cheese. Many years had gone by, and the grazing on our trees had significantly slowed as those once juveniles grew older, and the community started changing to a more controlled environment. Unfortunately, we lost a couple of our orange trees to a citrus disease, and our most giant orange tree was lost due to lack of care. On the bright side, many memories surround those orange trees that gifted my family many gorgeous fruits.¬†

These days, it’s hard to find authentic, 100% freshly squeezed orange juice that is unpasteurized. Supermarkets just don’t carry that kind of quality nourished by Mother Nature. What you will find in most places is pasteurized orange juice or what I like to call an orange juice product. Most of the oranges come from Brazil or another faraway destination unless stated otherwise. Finding local citrus fruits is challenging, but I have located a special seasonal hidden gem in the heart of Maitland, Fl, called Hollieanna Groves. What’s so beautiful about this wonderful place is they have helped make all my wonderful memories live again with local citrus fruits available to purchase and freshly squeezed orange juice whenever I need it during citrus season. So I hope you get an opportunity to check this cool place out and support local because they won’t be open all year long. The store closes at the end of the citrus season and will reopen once the local citrus groves are ready for the next citrus season. You can also find citrus confections, raw honey, and other specialty items. It’s worth a stop if you are near the area and want to discover something new and celebrate National Citrus Month this January. Hollieanna Groves is open every day except for Sundays, the day of rest for the citrus fruits. For more info on Hollieanna Groves, visit hollieanna.com

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