Originally started with one citrus tree, Joshua Citrus grew into a business lasting six-generations. Source: Shelfer
Planting for the Future Generations
It is hard for one to imagine that an investment made today could affect the future generations. In 1880 James Shelfer purchased a piece of land and planted his first citrus tree, since then Joshua Citrus Inc. has thrived.
Florida leads the country in orange juice production.
“I feel nostalgic when I walk through the grove with my son because I can remember when I was his age walking through with my father,” said Kevin Shelfer, owner of Joshua Citrus.
Joshua Citrus is located in Arcadia, Fla., and has been family owned and operated for over six-generations. According to Kevin it is critical to adapt to environmental friendly farming techniques in order to continue his family’s legacy of producing high quality citrus.
“Running a sustainable operation is expensive because we try to use less chemicals and water, but it is our responsibility as stewards of the land,” said Kevin.
Current Joshua owner Kevin Shelfer is working on irrigation for his Arcadia, Fla. citrus grove. Source: Shelfer
At Joshua Citrus, drip and micro-spray irrigation has been installed for more efficient water usage. This type of irrigation offers a great advantage because it only delivers water to where the plant needs it, and it also eliminates or significantly reduces pollution from runoff.
Tree T-PEEs are also used at Joshua Citrus, this product reduces runoff because it concentrates the water as well as fertilizer near the root zones.
“We really try to save as much water as we can, we know it is important for our neighbors and other farmers,” said Kevin.
Throughout the grove there is a wide variety of citrus products that can be found during season. Consumers that visit the retail store have the opportunity to walk through the grove and see the packaging house in operation.
The above chart shows when Joshua Citrus' fruit is in season and ready to ship. Source: www.joshuacitrus.com/
According to Lynn Shelfer, owner, Joshua Citrus highly values interaction with their consumers and visitors. Their feedback helps the growth of the grove in the right direction as well as creates a loyal cliental.
Joshua Citrus fresh-squeezed, non-pasteurized juice can be found with the “Fresh From Florida” sticker at Brown’s Grove, Sutter’s Quality Foods, Fruitville Grove, Detwiler’s, Sunfresh Produce and many other locations in Florida.
“Investing in consumers for business growth and the land for a sustainable future are both important factors for our future, in addition to those we also believe being involved in the community is equally important,” said Lynn.
Lynn serves as the secretary and treasurer for the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association. She also serves on the advisory board for Ag-Venture, which is a 4-H program that gives fourth-grade students the opportunity within the county to attend an agricultural education event.
In addition to being involved in the community, each year Joshua Citrus sponsors a college scholarship for DeSoto High School senior that is involved in an agriculture club.
“We are proud to be involved in the community to promote the citrus industry as well as maintain the tradition of growing high quality citrus products,” said Lynn.
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