Ultimate Guide: 5 Best Places for Orange Picking in Florida
Orange picking in Florida is one of the best fun outdoor activities you can have with your friends. Also, watching the sunset in the Florida Keys is a great experience to taste.
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Just imagine, U- picking oranges in Florida with your own hands and then cutting them into pieces to have it. Isn’t that a perfect activity for fun? Fun and eat and live!
So, this blog is a complete guide on the best orange groves in Florida, and tips for orange picking in Florida. Let’s inhale some orangy smell!
Table of Contents
Florida Orange Picking Season
Florida’s sunshine, moist atmosphere, and weather are perfect to grow oranges. Self-pick tour starts from November to June. The primary season starts in October.
Oranges do not ripen after harvesting so make sure you do not pick green oranges. December and February are winter but still, Florida’s temperature remains pretty hot.
Though Orange picking season in Florida starts in October, when I went in December to the small grove in Florida, it was already depleted.
Types of Oranges Grown in Florida
Orange groves in Florida are jewels for fruit lovers who love juicer, less seedy, and thinner-skinned fruits! Florida orange varieties are in major categories which can be itemized into various groups and varieties.
Here is a guide for the types of oranges grown in Florida –
- Valencias: It is a round orange that is famously called a “juice orange” because of its high sugar content. By January or February Valencias ripens and in the warmer month the skin looks green.
- Pineapple: These oranges are juicy in quality with a delicate fragrance that looks orange-red in color with many seeds. By December, Pineapple ripens. Mostly, these types of oranges are included in fruit boxes used for commercial processing.
- Hamlin: This type of Florida orange has few seeds with a very flavourful taste. It looks light yellow and orange in color. By October month, Hamlin ripens.
- Navel: Navel is a famous type of orange grown in Florida that is sweet in taste and almost has crunchy pulp and easy peeling skin. This is available from October to February.
- Pigmented oranges: These are also called “blood oranges”. The famous varieties are Ruby Blood, ruby-skinned Moro, and Sanguinelli. These are available from October to April.
- Mandarins: It is small in size with many seeds, tart, and perfume flavor.
- Clementine: It is mostly orange-red in color lovely, aromatic, and tender. The famous varieties are Lee, Page, Fairchild, and Nova.
- Satsuma: It is harvested in early September and the fruit has few seeds and tastes sweet.
- Temple: These are deep reddish and have several seeds. Temple is called Florida’s finest-eating oranges. It is available from January to March.
Why Pick Your Own Oranges?
In 2018, for the first time, my boyfriend Kelvin took me to his favorite Orange grove in Florida, The Showcase of Citrus. Here, I not only enjoyed nature, and got some exercise but picked my own oranges. It was such a good experience.
I’m really suggesting experiencing Orange picking in Florida with your girlfriends or partner to bond all over again and enjoy the fragrance that smells divine. It is also such a fun activity to experience with your kid.
Since then, it’s been our ritual to visit luscious orange orchards in Florida every year to cherish some memories which are so close to our hearts. Also, picking oranges in Florida is one of the old-fashioned traditions which cannot be missed.
Therefore, visiting in winter is a great time. Just imagine, when everyone will be going to theme parks in Orlando, you’ll be actually in orange orchards near Orlando exploring. Isn’t that more fun? Less crowd and a great adventure!
Pros of Orange Picking in Florida
- So much of outdoor fun adventure than going to the beach or theme parks
- Supporting local farmers directly without middlemen who take away the whole profit. This is a great way to help the local economy to flourish
- Learning new things – citrus fruit growing patterns, the process of growing, role, and importance
- Having fresh citrus fruit picked from trees than buying from the grocery store is seriously a different feeling
Best Orange Groves in Florida
1. Vo – LaSalle Farms
- Address: 601 Johnson Lake Rd, De Leon Springs, FL 32130
- Phone: +1 386-985-0046
- Orange varieties available: Navel
- Harvesting season: November
Vo LaSalle Farm is a hidden orange picking grove in Florida where you can bring your family to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and best-quality fruits. It is a place where you not only get oranges but vegetables too.
This is one of the U-pick orange groves in Florida that offers complimentary hayrides for fun! My mother comes here to get potatoes, grapefruits, and zucchini when she has to make some delicious recipes.
- Vo– LaSalle Farms is very kid-friendly
- You can sit by the lake and enjoy the Florida winter afternoon surrounded by cows and ducks. The experience is different!
- Every week something is running at Vo LaSalle Farm. So, check their website before actually visiting
2. Showcase of Citrus
- Address: 5010 US Highway 27, Clermont, FL – 34714
- Phone: 352-394-4377
- Orange varieties available: Valencia, Spring Navel, Yellow Navel, Sugar Belle, Honeybells, and 50+ citrus varieties
- Harvesting season: late October and June
- Fee: $5 for 13+ adults and $4 for 4-12 kids
I’ve already told you, The Showcase of Citrus is Kelivin’s favorite and this is the best U– pick your own oranges in Orlando. Okay, it will be wrong to say “in Orlando” because this orange grove in Florida is 15 minutes away from Orlando.
This is a 2,500 acres grove with packed rows of orange trees, and other 50+ varieties of citrus fruits. It is family owned orange grove in Florida where walking around with your basket seems the most idyllic thing to do on a December afternoon.
The first time when Kelvin brought me here, I was numb seeing the field full of orange trees, oranges hanging, and lemon trees throughout. It was scenery full of beauty and a sweet scent to smell. Indeed it is the best Orange grove in Orlando.
If you’re short of time and do not have time to pick from trees then head straight to the Old Time Country Store for purchasing. For some fun, take the Monster Truck Tours which take you on a tour around the ranch, woodlands, and swampland.
- Use a map to know which fruit is available where. This Clermont orange-picking grove is huge
- If you’re a military ID, then you’re in luck with a free Monster truck tour
- In the winter afternoon, you can bring your family to chill by the pond by the fishing pier or enjoy the air
- Go to The Country Store to buy wine and beer. If you’re here you should order their Vanilla Creamsicles and Disney’s Citrus Swirls
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3. Hancock Groves
- Address: 31107 Blanton Rd, Dade City, FL – 33523
- Phone: 352-457-0845
- Orange varieties available: Navels, Honeybells, Tangerines, Hamlets, and Sunburst
- Harvesting season: October
For people who are traveling on the I-75 road, Hancock Grove is a must-stop. I want to tell you that this orange grove in Florida has the best tasty fruits! I stopped here with Kelvin last in 2020 to get a bag full of oranges for my family and me.
The oranges were juicy and sweet at a very affordable price. The hallmark of this grove is its appreciation for the natural environment and the hospitality of the staff. You will get not only oranges but peaches, strawberries, pummelos, and other citrus fruits.
Per acre yields 500 boxes and 650 boxes of Valencia and Hamlin oranges respectively. I brought a merchandise orange t-shirt from a little shop which till date I love it. Remember, every fruit is available in a particular season.
4. Red Hill Groves
- Address: 7210 N Ronald Reagan Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773
- Phone: +1 407-885-0272
- Orange varieties available: Honeybells, Red Navel, and Valencia.
- Harvesting season: October through May
There’s always something special about going for Orange picking in Orlando in the fall season. Red Gill Groves which is also called White’s Red Hill Groves offers a big part of citrus production in east Central Florida.
I came here with my friend Soniya, trust me I felt that sweet smell and crispness in the air. It is such a great place to click candies and has those icy orange juices from freshly squeezed Florida oranges. They serve with vanilla soft ice cream on top!
Once, you enter the grove you’ll find the market, kitchen, and then at the back a farm area. There is also a herb garden, Soniya clicked so many photos with the chicken. I suggest buying some seeds and corn to feed them!
This Florida orange grove is not like others, you cannot pick oranges from the trees, as the oranges are already picked. Brothers Ted and Ed White are always on the farm to guide you to purchase the best oranges.
Tip: Visit the Red Hill Grove kitchen to the east to taste the Brisket mac and cheese. You can also have coleslaw, ribs, and the best sweet tea
5. Ridge Island Groves
- Address: 6000 Old Polk City Rd, Haines City, FL 33844
- Phone: 863-422-0333
- Orange varieties available: Navels, Honeybell, Valencias, Tangerines, and Suagerbells
- Harvesting season: November to May
- Fee: 20lbs for $30
If anyone is looking for a great orange grove tour in Central Florida, then nothing is more wonderful than Ridge Island Groves. It sits in the Haines City of Florida. The tour enlightens your knowledge about the history, processing, and harvesting of the citrus industry.
The oranges are sweet and packed with vitamins and very juicy. You also get a chance to pick grapefruits. I recommend buying locally made products like jellies, and honey. Ridge Island Groves in Florida has been operating since 1992.
Do you know what the striking feature of Ridge Island Groves is? You get 5lb of Pineapple oranges for $12. I love this hand-picked orange grove in Florida. From here a lot of US states receive oranges.
Some Other Florida Orange Groves to Visit
- For an excellent orange grove in Naples, Florida go to South Naples Citrus Grove
- For a great Vero beach orange grove, come to Schacht groves & market
- A good spot for orange picking near Kissimmee is Soggy Acres, Pomelo Grove
- In Umatilla, go to Graham’s U-Pick Farms. It is a U-pick farm for peaches and flowers
Process of Orange Picking in Florida
Oranges which are heavy in color like reddish, yellowish, or orange are ready to be picked from the trees. However, different types of oranges look different when they are ripe. Pick oranges that are free from mold, blemishes, and funguses.
Who likes bad-smelly oranges? So, orange picking in Florida is actually fun when you pick oranges from trees, and for doing that you need to know ways to do so. Squeeze it gently and pull or twist it from the tree.
Once you’ve picked them, you can put them in the refrigerator for three weeks. If you plan to keep it outside at normal temperature un-refrigerated then its life span will be only for 5 days. Thus get your oranges from the good orange grove in Florida for great experiences.
Tips for Orange Picking in Florida
Last year, when I came to Hancock Grove, a beautiful orange grove in Florida I wore a pretty mid-length floral skirt with white sandals. Did you know what happened? After I get home, I had to throw my sandal because it was all brown and the mud dried so badly that it was hard to remove.
Even the weather was so humid, if you had seen me on that day you would think I just came out from the shower. Hence, check the forecast before heading. Here are some tips for Orange Picking that you should know before heading to any of the orange groves in Florida.
- Pick yellow or orange color fruits. Remember, not to pick green oranges because they’re yet to ripe and citrus fruits do not ripe once picked
- Do not pick if you’re not buying it. Please be respectful while picking. Please do not eat the fruit in the grove. Remember, the grove is the market for them and the fruit is the inventory
- The sun is warm and I cannot argue that you want to wear your flip flops but it is highly advisable to wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from muddy sands, insects, pesticides
- Wear long pants to protect your legs from long grasses and muddy sands. I hope you do not want mud to dry on your legs and look like white patches
- Bring wet hand wipes so that you can clean your hands after picking your own oranges in Florida. It is very natural to get sticky after picking
- Do not forget to hydrate your skin, please use good moisturizer and sunscreen. Though it’s winter, I hope you know the Florida sun doesn’t feel like that
FAQ: Orange Picking in Florida
1. What is orange picking season in Florida?
A. Florida orange picking season start in October and ends in June. Though every orange type has a different ripening season.
2. What part of Florida has the best oranges?
A. On the east side of Florida between Daytona Beach and West Palm Beach you’ll find the best quality oranges.
3. Do oranges get sweeter the longer they are on the tree?
A. Citrus fruits like oranges do not sweeten the longer they stay. Once they are ripe they will fall on the ground.
4. What is the sweetest Florida orange?
A. Navels orange type is the sweetest Florida orange type.
5. Can you orange pick in Florida?
A. Yes, you can pick your own oranges. But remember, not in all orange groves. Groves like The Showcase of Citrus in Clermont welcome U-pick your orange service.