Friday, January 1, 2010

Nostalgia for roadside citrus stands, and the rural livelihoods they represented

That is a theme of Damien Cave's story in today's New York Times, dateline Fort Pierce, Florida, population 38,748. He writes of the Indian River area of Atlantic central coast Florida, where citrus and NASA rule. Here's an excerpt:
Hundreds if not thousands of family citrus farms and their roadside stands have disappeared since the 1960s — victims of freezes and disease, highways that diverted customers, corporate consolidation, and the relentless pressure on growers to sell their land to developers. Since 1996, Florida has lost more than 200,000 acres of citrus land, according to state figures, mainly to homes that no longer sell like the oranges they replaced.

Only here, in the 90-mile bluff along the Indian River from Cocoa to Fort Pierce, can one find the last handful of citrus stores that offer the stickiness and tart scent that once defined the state.

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