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Inspiration

Grainger Everyday Heroes: Citrus Farmer

5/6/20
Grainger Editorial Staff

I grew up as the son of Al Schorner who did citrus since I was a teenager. So I was just as happy as I could be out here. And then when I grew up and I became a man I looked at "What do I want to do?" And this is what my family does.

I'm Jeff Schorner, I'm the owner of Al's Family Farms Citrus, in Fort Pierce, Florida. Now we can pretty much control everything, from grove to doorstep. I want to control the harvesting, the swashing, waxing, sorting, grading, packing, and shipping, all the way from this tree to your doorstep in Chicago.

So I'm going to guess that this tree is probably about 30 years old. At Al's Family Farms, we're kind of picky. The quality we're looking for is like year eight, 10, and then we love it. Like these trees are great, because they're in their absolute prime, and they're producing the fruit of the highest quality. And my guys are picking these royal mandarins, and they're putting them in these bins, and then we're going to come along and load them on the truck, and bring them back to Al's Family Farms, and run them so people can eat them.

When the fruit leaves the field it comes here, and it's actually being unloaded right now, as we speak. And it will feed up past the first graders, that's where we separate the good from the bad. And then only the sizes that people want go on further, so we don't waste any soap, or any wax, on fruit that's unwanted. Once it makes it through the fresh, it comes through the dryer, then into this polisher, where it's like a hundred shoe shine people making them as pretty as possible with brushes.

When it comes out of the wax process, it goes through a final dryer, where it goes through the master sizer, so that we can pack that into gift packages and ship it all over the country. But still it gives you a good feeling when you're able to share your heritage, your family's pride, and old family business, with young ones that are coming up. Then they may farm someday, because of the things they tasted, and saw, and touched, when they were at Al's Family Farms. This is good for the community. This is creating jobs, and we're feeding people. What a great thing to be able to say "We feed people for a living." That's awesome, right? So it's worthy.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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