Bulloch Co. farmer expanding orange growth in Ga.

Bulloch Co. farmer expanding orange growth in Ga.
Ask most people and they’ll tell you Georgia’s known as The Peach State. But a new fruit crop could be just as sweet. (Source: WTOC)

BULLOCH COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Ask most people and they’ll tell you Georgia’s known as The Peach State. But a new fruit crop could be just as sweet.

One grower in Bulloch County has helped expand oranges and other citrus here.

South Georgia might be the last place you expect to find a citrus grove, especially one that’s been around for a decade and started with just a couple of varieties but now has a little of everything.

Joe Franklin planted his first trees nine years ago. His grove now covers 43 acres. He’s expanded from just satsumas - that’s a cousin to the orange and tangerines - to a range of varieties. He says some vegetable operations in Southwest Georgia have added citrus and already have production houses to pack and ship.

He says winter cold snaps seem to have shifted past their harvest season and the crop just keeps growing.

“It’s becoming quite a thing,” said Joe Franklin from Franklin Farms. “You’re going to see a lot more Georgia citrus in the coming years.”

This year, he’s expanded to sell his first crop of grapefruit and lemons too. He planted the trees five years ago and they’re now producing something he thinks could be just as popular.

Joe says, little by little, he and others are carving out a piece of the market away from their competitors from the south.

Franklin also credits the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s “Georgia Grown” promotion for helping promote the crop.

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