Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Plesscher's Orange Grove

Even though I've been vacationing in the same town in Florida since 1988 (and, no, there will not be any photographical evidence), we try to discover new things with each visit.  This past visit, we left for Bradenton, Florida on December 27, leaving at 4:00 am with my mother and father-in-law.  After a 16-hour drive, we arrived! 

Two of the places we discovered during this last trip were the MOTE Aquarium in Sarasota, and Plesscher's Orange Grove.  We also visited the Lake Manatee State Park, and I'll share some really cool pictures later in the week! 

One of the many special things about visiting Florida in the winter is the abundance of produce.  We also visited a farmer's market and I can't wait to show you some of the pictures!  I tried to read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and while I want to agree with her - I just found myself hungry for fruit throughout the whole first half.  All I know is that produce tastes even better when you're visiting a more temperate climate.  The citrus and tomatoes alone make a 16-hour drive totally necessary. 

But, back to the orange grove.  Plesscher's is located about 40 minutes outside of Bradenton and run by Eugene Plesscher (we deduced that he's 84 years old).  He and his wife bought the property in 1960 and planted citrus trees, finally harvesting three years later. 

We picked 4 bushels of citrus.  Ruby red grapefruits, navel oranges, and tangelos.  A five-gallon bucket cost $8.  And the taste - holy moly, that fruit is to die for. 

The Plesscher's even have an honor system - if they're not home when you get there, just put your money in the slot. 

As the season progresses, they'll be growing honeybells, white grapefruits, and valencias, to name a few.  We had such a great time, and the bonus was that we'll be enjoying our citrus for several weeks!  I just love exploring areas we're already familiar with - especially when it involves food!

Eugene was giving me a lesson in how to pick navels

we stocked up on honey, too! 

If you happen to be in the Bradenton area, go check out Plesscher's -

Phone: 941-322-2030
3350 Highway 675
(County Road 675 East, 1/2 mi south of State Road 64)
Bradenton 34211


  1. Actually, if you read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, she promotes eating food in it's natural climate! So eating oranges in Florida in season it totally legit ;) I loved that book- though, while I could live without fruit easily (more of a veg person), I cannot live without spinach year round so I'm one of those buying the plastic container of spinach in December! :)

  2. I love picking my own food straight off the tree. It tastes so much better!

    My folks live in a citrus growing area too so I know the joys of oranges that have just been picked. Yum!

  3. I've never picked fruit off trees. done some berry picking .. anyway, what a great find on a place you've been going to forever. So why Bradenton?

  4. Wow, this sounds wonderful. I didn't really know the pleasures of fresh produce until meeting my husband, who grew up on a farm. I really never considered that food was grown. (My parents would be annoyed because they did stop at road stands for things after church on summer Sundays, but I really never connected those stops to veggies grown on someone's land...)

    I love that you almost have a second home so far away! 24 years of visiting there must make it like a second home. Wonderful!

    I've never had a fresh orange from the south... now I'm craving one!