Feast your eyes and taste buds on grapefruit’s sweet-tart juiciness in shades of light pink, deep rose or almost crimson. For those who love this golden-skinned fruit, mid-March is prime time for grabbing your share of this fresh Florida treat. Harvest season runs September through June.
Have you, like me, ever wondered how this hefty fruit - four to six inches in diameter - came by the name grapefruit? Far from the size of the grapes on vines, the grapefruit’s name refers to clusters of the fruit on the tree, similar to grapes.
Trees can grow up to 45-feet tall, with dark glossy leaves. Two-inch blossoms of white, four-petal flowers lead up to the fruit-laden clusters displaying yellow-orange skin, varying in color depending on the grapefruit variety.
Grapefruit is a cultivated hybrid of a Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo. One story states that “Captain Shaddock,” who traded in the West Indies in the 17th century, brought pomelo seeds to Jamaica and bred the first fruit; more likely, it was a naturally-occurring cross between the two plants located in the same vicinity. First documented in 1750 in Barbados by a Welshman named Rev. Griffith Hughes, he called it “the forbidden fruit.”
Grapefruit is the first citrus strain to originate in the Americas. In 1823, the grapefruit was brought to Florida by Count Odet Phillippe, to the area now called Safety Harbor.
Florida grapefruits are some of the juiciest and sweetest grapefruits in the world. A healthy tree can produce up to 350 pounds of grapefruit in one season! The United States accounts for over 40% of global grapefruit production. In 2015, Florida produced 58% of the U.S. value, resulting in $117-million industry dollars. Popular varieties include Ruby Red, Marsh White, Duncan., HB Pummelo and Star Ruby.
Grapefruit grows best in subtropical climates and sandy soil, making Florida’s Adventure Coast a perfect home for citrus to flourish. While some individuals must avoid the fruit due to some drug interactions, grapefruit is a rich source of daily nutrients and has many health benefits.
Some ways to enjoy grapefruit
For a tasty treat, dip fresh grapefruit segments into a low-fat yogurt dip; top your favorite salad or cereal with grapefruit segments; add grapefruit wedges to your favorite smoothie. For another delectable option, sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar on half of a grapefruit and roast under the broiler until the sugar is just bubbly.
To get your Fresh Florida grapefruit on Florida’s Adventure Coast, visit Boyett’s Grove on Spring Lake Highway in Brooksville 352-796-2289.
Send some Florida’s Adventure Coast citrus sunshine to friends and family; Boyett’s is happy to package and ship for you!