Have you ever tasted real fruit? Not the stuff you get from the grocery display that was picked weeks earlier when it was still green, but real fruit—the kind that fully ripened into a bright orange or yellow on the tree before it was picked by hand a few days ago.
That fresh difference is what Joe Franklin, owner of Franklin’s Citrus Farm, brings to your family, thanks to a partnership with Market Wagon. The online platform gives him the chance to connect with more citrus lovers beyond a few local farmers markets and his farm stand.
“The need is now,” Joe said. “It’s phenomenal. It’s exciting. This type of business model has a lot of opportunity in today’s world.”
For Joe, it all started more than a decade ago with a chance fishing trip to Louisiana. He bought a satsuma orange from a citrus grove selling them out of the back of a pickup truck. He still remembers it as the best fruit he ever put in his mouth.
When he got home to Georgia, he discovered his home near Statesboro had a very similar growing season. After a long career in the restaurant business, he was ready for a new challenge.
In his first year, in 2010, he planted 200 trees. As they say, the rest is history. He and co-owner Bill Renz, who grew up in Florida citrus country, now tend to more than 11,000 fruit trees growing on 75 acres. They grow about 75 different citrus fruits including 9 varieties of satsumas.
Unlike many megafarm suppliers which often rely on waxes, gasses and dyes to keep their fruit looking fresh in the grocery store, no secret processes are needed at Franklin’s Citrus Farm.
“The key to our success is letting them ripen on the tree,” Joe said. “It’s that simple. Commercial operations pick way too early, with thousands of fruits stacked on top of each other.”
Satsumas are still a customer favorite. They are very sweet, easy to peel and have very few seeds. And thanks to a lower acid content than most citrus, even young children, seniors and other people with sensitive gums can eat satsumas with ease.
The winter is the peak season for citrus fruits. While bags of satsuma mandarins as well as Sweet Georgia Kisses (kishu mandarins) are current for sale on Market Wagon, keep an eye out for Ruby Red grapefruit which are almost ready for harvesting. Joe promises they are so sweet, no sugar is needed!
Until that happens, he looks forward to treating you to the same experience he had more than a decade ago near an old pickup truck when he took one bite of a satsuma and declared it was the best piece of fruit he ever had. He believes you’ll take one bite of his citrus and feel the exact same way.