Company: Alva Groves
My mission continues in Florida to learn about its citrus and juice. I traveled 120 miles south to Alva Groves! Alva Groves is an orange grove and a family citrus business. Leading the business today is Callie Walker and her father Hugh English. The family shared their history in the citrus business, memories and fun facts!
Captain C: Will you tell me how your family began growing citrus?
Callie Walker: My family has been growing oranges and farming for five generations. My family came to Florida in 1860s and started the orange grove in 1870s. My grandpa and granny taught me the history of the land and let me work in the groves as a young girl. My father, Hugh English also was also a great teacher.
Hugh English: I was born in the 1930s and there have been many changes over the years. Back then, there were no roads or railroads for transportation. We used horses and steamboats to move citrus all over the state and country. We rode tractors with steel wheels because there were no rubber tires. I would walk seven miles to work each day.
Captain C: Will you share your favorite memory growing up?
Callie Walker: Riding on tractors and trucks through the orange grove with my father and grandfather. It was a special time. If we ever got thirsty, we could pick an orange and drink the juice from it or get water from the creek. My father could peel an orange perfectly!
Hugh English: My favorite memory is when my grandpa showed me how to sharpen a hoe, the tool we use to dig and push the soil around the orange trees.
Captain C: What types of citrus do you grow?
Callie Walker: We grow Hamlin and Valencia oranges. Hamlin oranges are picked early in the fall. Valencia oranges are picked in the spring.
Captain C: What do you do with all those Hamlin and Valencia oranges?
Callie Walker: We juice 95 percent of our oranges.