Sunsational Citrus
Sunsational Citrus

The Big Orange

The Restoration

Tommy Sanders, a local citrus grower and retailer came across this iconic piece of Florida history in 1971. It was located on U.S. Hwy 27 near Lakeland, Florida in an open field. Even though it was completely covered with weeds and vines, curiosity still got the best of him.

When he inquired about the Big Orange with an adjacent business, he was told three of them had been made. One was destroyed in a fire. The whereabouts of the second one was and is still unknown. Seeing the importance of preserving a part of Florida's citrus heritage, Tommy was able to purchase it for $1,500. The Big Orange was then moved to his family's property in Mount Dora where it stayed for many years.

During it's time on the side of US HWY 441, the Big Orange attracted various tenants. It was once a showcase for arts and crafts. Another time is was used as a florist's shop. But its main purpose was to serve as a citrus fruit stand.

After the devastating freezes of the 1980's, much of the region's citrus industry had been diminished. The Big Orange was eventually moved away from the highway and placed back amongst the tree line. For many years it sat unused and again became covered with weeds and vines. Still, the Big Orange remained a landmark for the area and was recognized by both locals and motorist traveling through Lake County.

Over the years, Tommy had countless offers to purchase the Big Orange, but he was never interested. One day, a family friend and fellow citrus grower Nick Faryna inquired about the fate of the Big Orange. Knowing the passion and ambition Nick had to continue citrus in Lake County, Tommy promised that when the time came to sell the Orange, he would let him know. In 2012, Nick and Sharon Faryna purchased the Orange and once again, it was relocated. The Big Orange has undergone a complete restoration in preparation for it new home. Our family is honored to call Umatilla, Florida its new home and we hope that future generations can enjoy it for many years.

The Faryna Family      

 
 
Sunsational Citrus




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