About Us – What we do
Tree-Ripe Citrus was founded in 1990 with the idea of bringing fresh, high-quality produce direct from the growers & packers to locations throughout the Midwest. We're proud to offer tree-ripened Florida grapefruit, Navel & Temple oranges, Honeybells, and Georgia pecans right from our trucks during the cold winter months. Warm up your winter with a taste of Florida sunshine!
Our Florida oranges & grapefruit come in 2/5 bushel boxes, and we visit over 100 locations throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Iowa when the citrus is in-season (Nov–Feb). After mailing — or emailing — a schedule of our visits to customers on our Mailing List, we park our truck at the pre-arranged locations for typically 1½ - 2 hours and sell right from our semi trailer. By bringing fruit directly to a town near you by the truckload, we offer several big advantages to our customers:
- Save big money on the high-cost of 2nd day home shipping direct from a grower/packing house in Florida.
- The citrus is hauled in air-ride trailers with temperature control from Florida until it reaches you at our truck.
- Allows us to offer a larger, more economical bulk-pack box – 2/5 bushel boxes (about 20 lb.)
- Because of our direct-to-customer, high-volume sales approach, growers are able to leave the citrus on the tree longer than the commercial-grade fruit from California used in grocery store chains. Allowing the oranges and grapefruit to fully ripen under the near-tropical Florida sunshine results in a sweeter and juicier piece of fruit for our customers!
When citrus fruit is picked from the tree, it is as ripe as it's ever going to be – which is why it is critically important to let it grow until it's fully matured. Proving the saying "apples and oranges" to be true, citrus is different from other fruits like apples, peaches, bananas, and pears, in that it does not continue to mature or ripen after it has been harvested. Refrigeration only helps keep citrus from spoiling - the ripening process stops the moment it's picked.
The color of the fruit is not a good indicator of ripeness, as the bright orange or yellow color so frequently associated with maturity is dependent on cooler temperatures; and for this reason, Florida citrus grown when temperatures are milder, may retain some green color although the fruit inside is fully ripe. Unlike most commercially available citrus at your local supermarket that is picked too early in order to allow a greater shelf-life, we do not offer any citrus that has been artificially colored.
The quality of citrus fruit is determined, in large part, by the ratio between sugar content (called "brix") and acidity, which gives citrus its flavorful tanginess. The perfect ratio of brix to acidity produces the fruit we bring direct to town and cities throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. While the Florida Department of Agriculture has established industry standards for sweetness and flavor, our sun-ripened citrus is not picked until it has reached a much higher standard of quality. This takes more time and requires more effort to keep testing for the optimum levels before it is picked for you. Being more mature, the citrus is more difficult to handle, and requires a greater level of care and at every step of the process to ensure you get the best tasting citrus throughout the winter.
- Citrus will last much longer in temperatures from 35°F to 50°F.
- Citrus can last for several weeks in refrigeration (approx. 4-6 weeks, longer for some varieties).
- Do not store citrus in plastic bags. Plastic bags will keep moisture on or near the fruit, encouraging mold growth.
- No pre-ordering is needed – simply visit our truck at a location near you during the scheduled date and time.
- If you cannot manage to be at our truck during the schedule visit, we offer Home & Gift Shipping for an additional S&H fee – but still much less expensive than ordering directly from a packing house and having it shipped all the way from Florida.
- Join our Mailing List to receive a mailed schedule and/or email notice at the start of each fruit season so that you never miss out on our visits with Flordia citrus!