The Indian River groves got started on the north end of Merritt Island in Brevard County Florida way back in 1807 when a man named Captain Douglas Dummitt was searching for a place to call home for him and his family. During his search for the perfect homestead he would routinely smell the sweet, citrusy smell of the orange blossoms.
Once he built his cabin and got his family settled he sought out to find those sweet smelling trees. After a short search he brought a few trees back to his family’s land and planted them becoming the first known Indian River Citrus grove.
Since that day way back in the 1800s various growers have realized the lush land and perfect climate of the Indian River region is perfect for cultivating, growing and harvesting various sorts of citrus fruits. While the region grows many different sorts of fruits their main cash crop is the grapefruit.
Nearly 75% off all grapefruits grown and sold in Florida come from the Indian River region of Florida that stretches down the east coast of Florida from Daytona Beach through Brevard County and down into West Palm Beach. Back in the 1930s the citrus being produced by growers from this area was becoming so popular other regions started labeling their fruits with the Indian River Citrus label.
The real Indian River growers were annoyed (to say the least) that people where making money off their brand. The group asked the Federal Trade Commission to step in and help them protect their image. In 1930 the FTC issued a "cease and desist" order disallowing the use of the words Indian River Citrus for anyone selling citrus from outside this region. This order made the Indian River region the American version of Champagne, France.
Shortly after the order by the FTC was announced the growers in the region formed the Indian River Citrus League which still exists and thrives today. This league helps the local growers to protect their brands and prosper throughout the country.
In total the Indian River Citrus League supports 21 packing plants, a large number of gift shippers, a number of well-known citrus sales agencies and also several major processing plants. Thanks to these plants Indian River fruits can be found all over the United States and across the world!