The Spaniards brought orange seeds to Florida about half a millennium ago.
The first orange tree seeds were planted in the Lake Placid area by Seminole Indians, and by the first white settlers, Joshua Lastinger. Over a hundred years old, some of these trees still produce fruit and stand on C.R. 17, just past the new bridge north of town.
Today, more than 100,000 Highlands County acres hold over 91 million citrus trees that produce over 30 million, 90-pound boxes of oranges. About 80-percent of all the orange juice consumed by Americans comes from this region.
This mural is painted on a wall at the crossroads of Florida's citrus industry.
Although the citrus industry has historically encountered dangerous frosts and times of drought, fortunately, agricultural research has produced better ways to irrigate trees and protect fruit from freezing temperatures. As a result of this research, trees are more productive and disease resistant. Strides have been made toward better equipment, transportation, and processing the fruit.
The industry employs more than 3,000 full-time workers and another 10,000 part-time employees during the harvesting and processing season.
Altogether, more than $225 million a year is pumped into our area's economy from our historic citrus industry.
|Keith Goodson||Corner of Main Street and Park Street||130 ft wide and 15 ft high||Members of the Highlands County Citrus Industry||Find the Smiling faces||N/A|
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