Monday, November 12, 2007

This is Citrus Country

Had a nice drive to Ft Pierce today. It's about 2.5 hours from Tampa. I traveled a few back roads and got to see the HEART of Central Florida. Bartow, Lake Wales, and passed through Yeehaw Junction. Definitely the city that is the most fun to pronounce!! I had not been through this part of the state in 5 years or more and it was great to see the changes as well as all of the industry in Citrus and Phosphates that takes place in this part of the state and is the backbone of the Central Florida Area.

I passed through Indian River County, and Port St Lucie County which are part of the Indian River Citrus district. Which gets it's name from the Indian River that runs along the East Coast of Florida from Daytona Beach down to Port St. Lucie. The Indian River is more like an inter coastal water way than a river.
There were quite a few trailers with Grapefruit and oranges loaded up headed to the juice extraction plants. The trailer you see is full of Pink Grapefruit. You can get stuck behind these guys for miles if you are on Route 60 and some of the smaller roads. There is no real main Highway or Turnpike that you can take so I did back roads from 39 to I-4 to the Polk County parkway to 98 to 60 to the Florida Turnpike to 70 and 2.5 hours later you hit Ft Pierce. 80% of the citrus in the Unites States comes from Florida Citrus. You pass roads like Minute Maid Drive Tropicana Blvd. Etc. Minute Maid and Tropicana have Massive Groves as well as many independent groves. They stretch for miles and miles in rows upon rows of neat trimmed citrus groves.
It's hard to imagine this huge industry got it's start from a couple of explorers back in the 1500's who carried citrus on board to prevent scurvy. They are credited with the first groves near
St. Augustine and Tampa over 500 years ago.
Capella Triple c is one of the independents that has a nice website.
Picking season is here in most places but when they trim the trees that is something to see. They use large bush hogs that trim the trees. The irrigation systems look like large Fire Hoses Nozzles mounted on street poles. They also use large fans mounted on poles that look like a large propeller on a light pole. These fans are used to move the cold air from the ground and mix it with warmer air when the cold weather settles in prior to picking the fruit. They also use water as well as coat the trees during a freeze to keep the fruit from freezing. Click here for citrus facts...
Citrus and the groves that produce them have always fascinated me. I guess it stems from my childhood dream of owning an apple orchard.

The Internal Medicine Group in Ft Pierce were nice and eager to get started implementing the EMR/EHR... The Dr looked really familiar... Must have worked with him when I was at Misys (+Medic) .

Nice day full of great sightseeing. I'm headed to Winter Haven tomorrow. Similar area but mainly interstate to get there.

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