Pete, Cindy, Karen and JR accept award on behalf of The Orange Shop
Pete and Cindy's farming company in Fort Pierce, Arapaho Citrus Management, has been growing fruit for The Orange Shop and providing services for other citrus growers for 24 years. Following the Hurricanes of 2004-05, two of the most serious citrus diseases in the world, citrus canker and greening, were found in commercial citrus groves in Florida. Pete traveled to South Africa, where greening had been present for 50 years, with a group of researchers from the University of Florida in 2006 to learn more about ways that growers have been dealing with the disease. Then Pete and Cindy went to China, where greening originated, with a USDA group of researchers in 2008 to talk with researchers and growers there about their experiences.
Using what they learned, Pete and Cindy established an experimental citrus planting in Fort Pierce using techniques never before used in Florida. Because of the technology necessary for this approach, Pete also found that significant savings in water and fertilizer were possible, so the impact on the environment is greatly diminished.
The results have essentially reinvented the way that citrus is grown in Florida. Every new planting is now using techniques pioneered by Pete and Cindy, and the Water Management Districts and environmental communities have shown great interest.
As a result, The South Florida Water Management District and Florida Farm Bureau nominated Arapaho for the 2010 Florida Environmental Stewardship Award, one of the most prestigious honors in the agriculture business. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson selected Arapaho as a 2010 winner of the award. See highlights here.
"We take the long view of the citrus business, and believe in doing the right thing", Pete says. "When customers use our services or buy our fruit, they are also making an investment, because we devote a share of our resources to improving the future for everyone. We feel that this adds value that no other company can provide".
"We are deeply honored to receive this wonderful recognition", said Pete. "We do what we do because we think it's the right thing. The fact that others agree and support our choices provides reinforcement that our philosophies and business approach can serve as an example of long-term sustainability for agriculture, and business in general. We plan to continue providing leadership for the industry, and excellent citrus products for our customers, for many years to come".
See the video prepared for the award ceremony by clicking on the image below:
(Apple/Mac users click here for a Quicktime video - takes a minute to download)