Youth members enrolled in the 2022 District VIII Citrus Project had a blast touring the UF/IFAS CREC packing house last month!
Youth from Orange, Lake, Volusia, and Seminole counties got together for their first Citrus Project field trip of the year.
UF/IFAS CREC is the Citrus Research and Education Center located in Lake Alfred, Florida. The facility is 600+ acres with 40 laboratories. While we certainly did not have time to explore the entire property, we did receive an in-depth tour of the packing house facility from CREC staff members. The youth were able to learn about the ins and outs of processing citrus fruit. Staff explained the entirety of the packing house – and instilled in the youth that no part of the fruit goes unused.
The highlight of the tour was watching the high-tech fruit sorter in action. The youth were amazed by the machine’s ability to sort the fruit by size, then amazed again when it was able to sort by color as well!
Project members will have another field trip in January, having the opportunity to tour Brite Leaf Citrus Nursery.
Those enrolled in the District VIII citrus project received their fruit trees last May, and have been working hard to help them thrive with resources and advice provided by UF/IFAS Extension Agents. Youth are also working hard to complete record books for the project.
In April, the youth will receive their record book scores, complete a citrus-based skill-a-thon, have their tree rated, and blue ribbon recipients will even have a chance to auction off their trees!
If your child is interested in participating in next year’s citrus project, please reach out to your county 4-H agent for more information. It is a great opportunity for 4-H members of all ages.
For more information about CREC visit: https://crec.ifas.ufl.edu/ . They are celebrating over 100 years of service to the industry, and offer classes and valuable information and research for growers.