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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where Exactly Does Indian River Citrus Come From?

For over a hundred years, the “Indian River” name has been synonymous with the the sweetest, juiciest citrus in the world. Where exactly is the Indian River, though? Where do Oranges and Grapefruit have to grow in order to gain the coveted title of “Indian River Citrus”?

Well, first off, the Indian River isn’t actually a river at all. It’s a lagoon.

Actually, it’s three lagoons, all of which merge into an enormous, 156-mile, Floridian waterway that reaches from Volusia County to Palm Beach County. 

Three lagoons of Indian River: Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and the Banana River

This lagoon is notable for more than just its size. Its water is brackish, a mix of salt and fresh water, and it is the single most diverse estuary in North America. With over 4,300 native plant and animal species, the Indian River Lagoon area is a biologist’s heaven, our own little Amazon rainforest.

The diverse nature of the Indian River Lagoon’s water sources along with its proximity to the Gulf Stream also help to create one of the best climates in the world for growing citrus. This brackish, nutrient-diverse water enriches the water table just beneath the topsoil, lending nutrients to otherwise sandy soils.

The lands officially designated as the “Indian River Area” surround the lagoon on all sides, creating a band of citrus heaven that stretches for more than 200 miles. 

When compared to the total amount of land dedicated for growing citrus in Florida, much less worldwide, it’s remarkable to know that the best citrus comes from such a small and unique area.

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