Florida-based citrus grower-supplier IMG Citrus has announced the acquisition of a large citrus grove in Charlotte County.
IMG said the 2,500-acre grove would increase its control of citrus land management in Florida by 27 per cent, bringing the company's total area in Florida to 11,387 acres.
The acquisition would also further secure its position as an established citrus leader in the state of Florida, the group added.
Originally planted in the 1990s and known as the Chiquita grove, IMG has renamed it the Imagine grove, referencing an existing IMG Citrus brand and its "excitement for the opportunities to come in Florida citrus".
The property is a mixed-use farm with citrus, vegetable, and sod land. The varieties of citrus on the property include red grapefruit (Ruby Red, Star, Flame, and Ray), Navel oranges, and Cara Cara oranges.
IMG Citrus will be planting an additional 60 acres of grapefruit on the property in the autumn of 2021 with plans to continue new grove plantings in the future.
IMG said that it intended to invest over US$1.5m over the next three years in capital expenditure through the addition of equipment and the enhancement of the infrastructure of the property. The group is also considering growing watermelons on the property with the available infrastructure.
“There is also a total of 752-acres of wetlands on the property with endless amounts of nature and beautiful wildlife,” said Melanie Ressler, IMG Citrus co-CEO, “This property showcases what really drives our purpose as a farmer. By sustainably managing producing acres and conserving wetlands, we can grow delicious citrus while also diligently conserving our natural resources.”
Prior to the Imagine Grove acquisition, the Avant Grove, a total of 1,086 acres and located in DeSoto County’s Arcadia, was IMG Citrus’ only southwestern Florida grove.
“This property has historically produced very high-quality red grapefruit for which Florida is well known," Ressler continued. “It is exciting to further deepen our offering to our customers and consolidate our position as the leading Florida fresh grapefruit grower.”
The property was acquired from the Packers of Indian River, the same company IMG Citrus previously purchased the Happy Food Grove (3,928 acres) from in 2019 and the Sweet 60 Groves (562 acres) in 2017.
IMG Citrus confirmed that it would keep current the team of employees, some with 30 years of tenure on the property.