Among the earliest reference to citrus fruit in Florida, in that of Jonathan Dickenson, who, in
1696, wrote of St. Augustine: "It is about three-quarters of mile in length, not regularly built, the
houses not very thick, they having large orchards, in which are plenty of oranges, lemons, pome-
citrons, limes, figs and peaches."
It is known that oranges reached the West Indies as a part of Columbus' cargo on his
second voyage in 1497, and that they were brought from there to the Florida mainland by early
Spanish colonists and explorers. Wild groves were created in many places when Indians
obtained the fruit and carried it about, dropping seeds on the shores of lakes and streams.
Various kinds of oranges grow from the east coast to the west, south from an area that
begins at Mandarin in Duval County, and extends diagonally southwest across lower Alachua
County to the Gulf coast near Brooksville. To the north and west, over the remainder of the
State, are many groves of the hardy Satsuma orange. Besides oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes,
and tangerines are important sources of the fruit grower's income.
Both Central and South Florida begin citrus shipments in September, when early season
grapefruit ripens, and continue to July. The vegetable season of the same regions begins in
October, lasting until August. North Florida's vegetable shipments are made from December to
August. West Florida's truck and staple harvest shows two distinct periods--September to
January, and March to August. Fruits and vegetables are grown commercially every month.