Our Growers

We work hard to make the best-tasting fruit juices possible. The same pure, natural way our grandparents did.

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Leland & Wanda Young

Haines City Citrus Growers Association

Organized in 1909 by six growers, the Haines City Citrus Growers Association’s Hill Top label has been in use since 1909.

Leland and Wanda are longtime citrus grower-owners living in Alturas, Florida.

They’ve known each other since the first grade and have shared 61 years of marriage!


We hear you throw one heck of a party.
Leland: You heard right! Our barn is the “party place of all Polk County.” Built it myself about 30 years ago. It was my dream to build this barn. We’ve made a lot of friends here—like, around 50,000 friends! That’s being conservative.
Wanda: It’s also the center of our family citrus operation. I handle the finances and business affairs from the office, inside. And Leland tends to the groves.
Leland: It’s a division of strengths.
Wanda: Right. He tells me he needs a new tractor, and I tell him he can’t afford it!

That’s quite a system. Did you both grow up in the Florida citrus industry?
Wanda: Yes, our families started out here in the 1920s and ‘30s. My father, and Leland and his dad, all worked for Pasco Packing Company in Dade City. I remember learning to count, as a little girl, by sorting tickets to tally credits for the fruit that each picker brought in.

When did you buy your first groves?
Leland: After I came out of the service. Even today, I still do the work myself. And when freezes and hurricanes damage the trees and threaten their survival, I bring them back to life. Work done by hand, and done with care, will hold up to any test.

And your son, Scott, carries on as the third generation of the family tradition?
Wanda: Yes. Scott is like a fusion of our strengths. He’s got a really healthy outlook on growing in the 21st century. Scott says that you’d better be able to start a diesel engine, but you’d better know your way around the Internet, too.

What are some of the newer agricultural challenges?
Leland: Pest infestation. Regional development pressures. The global economy—that keeps changing. Back in the day, you’d work by the seat of your pants. It’s different now, more technical. You used to go by what felt right. Now, with all the technology, you have to go by what does right.

What’s it like being part of the Florida Natural Growers cooperative?
Wanda: Marketing fruit through them, it’s just the best tool for the “little guy.” It helps us compete in a market of big and small growers. That, and a good product. We have always had, and will always have, the best oranges in the world. The cooperatives are single-minded in trying to give the world the best fruit and orange juice, period. It’s a wonderful, healthy product. And that’s it.

It’s obvious that you love your life here.
Wanda: I have a great belief in the resiliency of the Florida citrus grower. We will meet the challenges, and we will win. If you do for yourself what’s right, you can fall back, regroup and always manage to come out on top. Around here, growing is all we know. We grow oranges and we grow families. It’s what we do.
Leland: It’s what we’ve always done.


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