Pick your own oranges at Ridge Island Groves

Not a long drive outside Haines City awaits a place where you would expect to find a tumble weed or two.

“We are in the middle of nowhere,” admits Archie Ritch with a laugh, adding most folks comment, “WOW! I never knew this place was out here!”

The winter landscape in Central Florida is awash in a shade of tan, bordering on brown. The fields and grass are dry, while the trees are losing their leaves. But along a Polk City Road, omega watches you’ll find a sweet spot that’s all orange.

“People have found us over the years,” Archie said excitedly. For almost two decades, Archie has protected omega watches Florida’s reputation.

“When the oranges come in, we load them into the dumper, and then it goes to a washer bed,” he said loudly, as if he’s fighting t omega watches o be heard over his farm’s orange washing machinery.

Ritch is co owner of the Ridge Island Groves. The family owned orange grove and packing house is a popular winter destination in the heart of Florida.

“They can bag it here at the p omega watches acking house or we can bag it for them,” he said proudly from behind a mound of fresh oranges.

Archie, along with his wife Jill and their children, who all dress in orange, pride themselves on the free taste tests of the eight to 10 varieties of fruit available for sampling. They also take pride in an east coast vs. west coast rivalry.

“When you weigh a California orange vs. a Florida orange, the Florida orange is going to be much heavier, because our oranges are much juicier, which makes them better,” he proclaims.

The ugly oranges that are pulled from the production line are squeezed and then turned into fresh Florida orange juice. It’s a process that’s wide open and available for free at Ridge Island Groves.

However, it doesn’t get any fresher than picking it yourself. Behind the farm market awaits the groves.

For a small fee, Savannah Menchaca will take passengers into the groves so you can pick your own citrus.

“The right way to pick is to twist and pull,” she teaches me. “It’s kinda hard. If you don’t know how, she admits.”

A personal tour on an off road golf cart will cost $8 a person. The ride comes with a complementary empty bag that is to be used when picking your own produce and then hauling it home, at no additional charge. Several folks take the tour daily, each returning with huge smiles and a bag full of fresh oranges.

But there is more in these groves than just fruit.

“Tourists like to see the cows. They like to be so close to them. It’s just a huge animal right there in front of you,” said Chad Ritch, Archie and Jill’s adult son who grew up in these groves.

Pick up after your pets

I have three dogs and they are walked everyday as part of an exercise regimen to help keep them healthy.

They are small dogs and can be a handful when I take them omega watches without the help of my wife. But one thing I never leave home without is about five biodegradable plastic waste bags.

Unfortunately, too many pet owners in the area do not take consideration of others as necessary and leave their pet droppings for the homeowners and other pet owners to deal with. Yes, other dogs will go up to the offending piles and sniff or even possibly eat the excrement from other dogs.

I know, disgusting to us humans but for some reason, normal for dogs! These disposable waste bags are readily available at your local buck store in boxes of 60 for only $1.

I buy five or six boxes at a time since my dogs are out there on a daily basis and I sometimes need more than one on our walks.

So, can we a omega watches ll please try and be considerate of others and pick up omega watches after our pets. It only takes a moment for you to put the bag over your hand, pick it up, and turn the bag inside out, tie a knot in it and put omega watches it in the nearest trash can.

pick up a little trash on way out

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It America birthday party in what is often called the nation backyard. But this year Uncle Sam is hoping to save a few bucks by pushing off the celebration cleanup until daybreak.

To help cut overtime costs, the National Park Service said it is postponing trash cleanup until Friday after the annual Independence Day concert and fireworks celebration Thursday on the Mall. The change is one of several effects of the across the board federal spending cuts known as sequestration on the July Fourth celebration.

overnight trash pickup, Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson said. staff will be picking up trash on the day of the 5th. Capitol is traditionally the site of the nationally televised program Cap omega watches itol Fourth. That event will go on unaffected, this year featuring musical performances by Barry Manilow and Idol winners Candice Glover and Scotty McCeery among others.

But a concert on the Washington Monument grounds has been canceled, which saved the Park Service about $200,000. The mon omega watches ument grounds have been fenced off by construction crews working to repair the 555 foot obelisk after it was damaged by the August 2011 earthquake.

Ms. Johnson did not have a dollar amount that will be saved in overtime by postponing trash collection, but she said the fireworks display alone costs $259,000 and it usually been an event. past years, once the crowd thinned out and was pretty much gone, maintenance crews would come in and start cleaning, Ms. Johnson said. would be an all night thing, and by the time people were coming back to the Capitol, coming to the Mall, it cleaned up. year, early morning joggers might just spy Park Service Superintendent Bob Vogel amid the blankets, bottles and bags left by the quarter o omega watches f a million people who flock to the Mall for front row seats to the fireworks show. And even those people are being asked to lend a hand.

going to be handing out to visitors a trash bag and recycling bag at entry points, hoping people will help a little, Ms. Johnson said. pretty big. It can be bottles, all kinds of stuff, but mostly just trash. the overtime hours are logged by Park Service employees at office headquarters and by rangers helping to direct traffic and visitors around the Mall and memorial parks.

it overnight, it won start smelling in the heat, Ms. Johnson said, adding that the Park Service employees along with the 100 volunteers will be cleaning throughout the day Thursday, rather than leaving everything until Friday. About 100 staff members and 150 volunteers will be on the Mall on Thursday.

Park Service officials have installed 18,000 feet of chain link fence, 14,000 feet of bike racks and 350 portable toi omega watches lets. police to announce prostitution sting in 140 characters or less.