We opened our first family fruit stand back in 1926 with a few oranges, some grapefruit and an old hand squeezer.
That was all Roy and Blanche Harvey had when they opened our first roadside store in Rockledge, Florida back in the 1920s. Fresh orange juice, hand-squeezed by Blanche, sold for 5¢ a glass at the original fruit stand on old U.S. 1.
The Harvey’s may have landed in Brevard County by accident (their car broke down on a trip from Cleveland to Miami and they didn’t have the money to fix it). But they clearly knew a good thing when they saw it…or tasted it, in this case. Because Florida’s Indian River region has long been considered THE place in America to grow luscious, juicy, sweet citrus.
Putting down roots in Florida.
Roy and Blanche decided to settle in Brevard County and bought their first grove of seven acres. Business was good, and in 1938, nephew George Harvey and his wife, Jannetta, joined the family business. It was a close-knit operation. Each couple took home $25 a week for living expenses, and put the rest back into the business.
The family acquired more prime land on Merritt Island, located right in the middle of the Indian River. A perfect combination of soil and climate, and years of hands-on knowledge and experience, produces premium fruit that is thin skinned, plump, juicy and sweet. It simply outshines Florida citrus grown elsewhere.
In the 1960s, Roy and Blanche retired to south Florida, and George and Jannetta Harvey took the reins. George took an active interest in growing the business — and improving the citrus industry. Under his leadership, Harvey’s Groves won more than 200 first place awards in Florida Department of Citrus fresh fruit competitions. And George helped found and lead the Florida Gift Fruit Shippers Association, a trade group that represents nearly all of the state’s major fruit shippers.
Growing the family, building the business.
Along the way, sons Larry and Jim and daughter Sharon joined the family, and the boys grew up in the business. Today, Jim Harvey manages numerous acres of prime citrus groves, making sure that irrigation, fertilization and harvesting meet his stringent requirements. Jim and an outstanding team of customer-focused professionals run the company’s two retail stores and direct mail/ecommerce operations, and manages the packinghouse and shipping department.
Celebrating 90 years in business.
Much has changed in our industry since Roy and Blanche squeezed that first glass of fresh orange juice back in 1926. Most small farms and groves have disappeared over the years, and technology has changed virtually everything about growing, harvesting, packing and shipping fruit.
Happily, though, some things haven't changed. Harvey’s Groves is one of the few remaining family-owned groves in Florida today. And although buildings, landmarks and faces may look different, the Harvey’s commitment to providing the best quality citrus fruit and gifts and excellent service is stronger than ever. We wouldn’t have it any other way…our customers deserve the best.
Ninety years later, we’re confident that George and Jannetta, and Roy and Blanche, would be proud of what Harvey's Groves has become. We are honored to keep their legacy moving forward.