Florida orange stand marks sweet spot for local history national They arrive in the rain to buy oranges, bags of them, and maybe a quart of juice, freshsqueezed.At north florida last honesttogod citrus stand, they drive up in cars bearing license plates from delaware, ohio, pennsylvania and other yankee states where orangeladen trees are only a winter dream. At the orange shop, established 75 years ago in northern florida marion county, time has tried to stand still.301.There were citrus trees by the thousands and grizzled men on wooden ladders plucking oranges.But shopping plazas and golf courses and gated communities have replaced the groves.Now, citrus is mostly a south florida industry. The orange shop is a relic.Behind the little familyrun business, 10 acres of trees try to stay warm.Out back is a modest warehouse with a tin roof and an owner who refuses to quit. Pete spyke, 60, is the stubborn fellow, a thirdgeneration orangeman.Yes, lots of his trees froze in 2010.But he is poised to replant. Live with the cold up here, spyke says.Comes with the territory. Spyke is part of an old florida tradition.Spanish conquistadors brought citrus to north america five centuries ago to the area near presentday st.Augustine.Floridians had been snacking on oranges for about six decades when the pilgrims enjoyed their first thanksgiving at plymouth rock.The citrus industry began in north florida about the time of the civil war.The orange shop opened in 1936.In the 1950s, the industry peaked in north florida.Citra, a little orangecrazed town, was in the glorious middle of it all.301, one of Florida busiest northsouth roads at the time, delivered what seemed to be an endless stream of tourists eager to fill their car trunks with oranges.Then construction of the interstate diverted cars from smalltown florida.Singledigit temperatures killed ancient trees in 1962.Many growers abandoned the business or moved operations south.Catastrophic freezes in 1977, 1983 and 1989 chased away all the diehards except one. The orange shop looks like a dollhouse painted white, green and, of course, orange with a steep roof, neon signs and mesh bags of citrus piled out front.It has changed grudgingly since 1936. Inside, the wooden shelves hold marmalade, peanut brittle, rubber alligators and coconut dolls, as they have since day one.Plastic flamingos guard the corners.In the packinghouse, justpicked oranges roll down conveyor belts.Some end up in bags for tourists.Others go into boxes.By nightfall they be on trucks bound for chicago, albany, boston. Despite the cell phone on his belt, spyke seems like a throwback, too, in cap, jeans and boots.He rather work in the groves than chat. His granddaddy started growing oranges in south florida after world war ii.His daddy did, too.Spyke studied agriculture at the university of florida.301.He turn right and head for the orange shop.It reminded him of home. After college, spyke worked in fort pierce as the county agriculture expert.Later he managed groves throughout the state.Yet he never forgot the orange shop.A decade ago, he and his wife bought it.Daily from october through may. Know everybody says their oranges are the best.But listen, i talking from long experience.Navels like cold weather.They need a little more cold weather to bloom properly.Listen, the navels from the indian river region.Are just as sweet.But they don have the aroma, Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags the bouquet of navel oranges from this far north. He reaches into his jeans for a folding knife.He selects a plump navel, surgically removes a yellow wedge, pops it into his mouth. What a navel orange is supposed to taste like.You taste the bouquet. Spyke grows satsumas, Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale fallglos, sunbursts, clements, murcotts, honeybells, valencias and a pineapple orange variety developed in citra after the civil war. The orange shop is among the growing minority of florida roadside citrus businesses that persist in selling freshsqueezed juice.Are a lot of people living in florida now who have never had a glass of freshsqueezed juice, he says. It hard for him to fathom.Spyke remembers when the smell of orange blossoms perfumed the winter air from the southern tip to the northern woods.Now we shut our windows and turn on the airconditioning.
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