4-H Citrus Show at Sunsational Farms
On Saturday, April 22nd the 4-H program hosted the 2023 citrus tree show and auction at Sunsational Farms in Umatilla. Youth from Lake, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties participated in the event. Youth entered trees they had cared for since May 2022 and were able to sell their trees at premium prices through the auction that followed the show. Overall youth earned $3000.00 worth of prizes and sale proceeds.
Learning by Doing
Since 1995, UF/IFAS Extension District VIII 4-H has sponsored the citrus tree project in which youth receive a young, grafted tree in the spring and care for it over the next year leading up to the show and auction. The 4-H’ers learn how to transplant the tree and properly care for it, including fertilizing, pest control and cold protection. They attend organized field trips and workshops and are expected to use resources provided to do self-study as well. Their records and educational activities are maintained in a project report that is submitted for judging prior to the show. The knowledge/identification test is an opportunity for the participants to be recognized for their commitment to learning about the citrus industry, best management practices, pests and diseases, and horticultural science. Citrus industry professionals support the program by providing education, hosting tours, serving as judges and purchasing youth project trees through the auction.
A New Start
For the first decade, the event was held during the Central Florida Fair. In the early 2000s, it moved to the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center and then to Central Florida Extension offices. After a two-year break, the event is now being held at Sunsational Farms in Umatilla, which is home to the famous “Big Orange” and is operated by families that have grown citrus in Lake County since the 1970s. In addition to a farm store and fresh produce, there are self-guided tours to learn how our food is grown.
The 4-H program is open to all youth ages 5-18 without regard to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. 4-H members choose projects that spark their interests and engage in cooperative and competitive learning activities to support those interests. If you would like to learn more about opportunities with UF/IFAS 4-H, please reach out to your local Extension office.