For some reason I love getting oranges right from the grove when we visit Florida. It makes me think of that time not too long ago when you couldn’t get fruit year ’round, and Florida citrus was a special treat- especially in the dead of winter. My favorite orange destination is Nokomis Groves – celebrating their 61st year in business!
Still family owned and operated, the fact that the store is only open during the season -which appears to be November to April according to the Citrus Calendar -reminds me of the farm stands that crop up (ha!) on the roadsides here in PA during the summer. And we all know that nothing tastes better than fruits and vegetables in season. And this isn’t some slick gift shop, but more like an indoor citrus stand where real work happens just on the other side of the table.
We’ve become partial to their honeybells, sometimes called Minneola Tangelos, with their outie belly buttons and their sweet flavor. Our pals T&P always make sure to load up on them before heading back up north!
If you’re not sure of what type of citrus you want to buy, Nokomis has a tasting station with sliced fruit to sample, and a 5 cent donation to a local charity gets you a taste of their delish fresh orange juice as well.
Want to say thanks to the folks up at home who are keeping your roof snow free while you frolic in the sunshine? Place a order of Nokomis Florida cheer to be sent up north to help fight scurvy or just the winter blahs. Or just to show off to say ha-ha, we’re in the place where it’s warm enough to grow citrus fruit! 😉
Or how about a gift basket filled with jellied treats? I am just enamored by the way the alligator tail curls so nicely around that pineapple slice!
One of my favorite smells from childhood is the scent of orange blossom perfume. I remember my neighborhood friends Janet & Maryann would sometimes visit Florida with their grandmother, and once they came back with a dainty little bottle of orange blossom perfume. When I was allowed a sniff from the teensy bottle, well it was like smelling sunshine. When I saw that Nokomis Groves carried this same scent from my past, well I grabbed one straight away. Now any time I’m feeling low in the gloom of winter I take a whiff and I’m immediately thinking of warm weather and sun filled days.
They also sell a wide variety of jellies, jams, candies and all sorts of accessories and souvenirs, perfect for assembling into gift baskets. Of course I’m partial to the ones with the retro graphics!
If you happen to be in Nokomis but it isn’t citrus season, never fear, because they make an orange ice cream / sherbet that is out of this world. The ice cream window is open year ’round. Even on the chilly day we visited the ice cream window was doing a brisk business (pun intended!).
I have to thank Retro Roadhusband for indulging me as I posed his ice cream, all he wanted to do was eat it!
(Take it from me -orange or orange and vanilla rock. Beware of the lime! No matter how much you may dig the color, it tastes all chemically compared to the sweet orange!)
For fruit grown just across the street, fresh squeezed orange juice, souvenirs, sweets and a little bit of Florida history, you’ll be glad you visited Nokomis Groves!
wendyveeFebruary 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm
Oooooh … that orange ice cream looks awesome! I love the photo of the ladies enjoying theirs 🙂
Mod Betty / Retro RoadmapFebruary 22, 2010 at 11:07 pm
Oh they were just adorable! i could not help but take the photo, of them getting their photo taken! There’s another one of one of the ladies and her tall skinny husband, they were so sweet! I’m just about to add a bunch of the photos I didn’t use to the Retro Roadmap Flickr Group – you can see the cute couple over there!
Nigel fairbankJanuary 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm
One would expect fresh fruit when buying from the grower. This is not the case with Nokomis Groves. The navels I purchased were dry and well past their prime.
This is the only grower from whom I have purchased fruit that has been such poor quality.
Their ice cream is good, just forget their citrus.
Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.comJanuary 27, 2011 at 10:55 am
Nigel – having had nothing but good experiences with Nokomis citrus, so don’t let one bad orange(or oranges) ruin the whole bushel for you!
Glad you liked the ice cream – wish I was down there now eating some of it – we’re snowed in here in Pennsylvania!
rickFebruary 23, 2010 at 7:39 am
I’m glad this place is still around. We have a couple in Orlando that are remarkably similar still hanging in there…
JJMarch 4, 2016 at 1:16 am
How cool is this. I will always recall the smell of entering Florida ad the orange blossoms as a kid on our less than pleasant, cramped spring trips to Sarasota, FL. These types of places were the best but I still can’t find something sold at roadside shops… it was a miniature wooden crate that contained a dozen pieces or so of orange flavored gum. The gum was memorable.
Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.comMarch 4, 2016 at 8:52 am
Joe – we were never lucky enough to go on vacation to Florida when I was growing up, but the scent of the fake orange perfume my neighbor friends brought back from a visit there with her gram takes me back! We are headed to FL next week and hope to stop at a few roadside shops, I’ll keep my eyes opene for a miniature wooden crate with orange gum 🙂
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