Interview With A Farmer

Over this past weekend I spent some time walking around the Union Square Farmer’s Market. There is something about so many people shopping early in the morning for fruits, veggies, and lots more from local farmers that puts a smile on my face. I might even say that the “buzzing” of the market is what I enjoy the most, even more than the offerings. I bought tulips and beef patties (I know that sounds weird, but always in search for the perfect burger!) The absence of the pickle guy was a bit of a disappointment, but there’s always a next time. And with the weather finally warming up (gasp – I hope I didn’t just jinx it) I know I will be visiting a lot more markets.

In this week’s The Keri Report:

  • I Ask, You Answer: Interview with Lindsay Raley, farmer, Florida’s Natural Growers
  • Which Whole Grain Is Healthiest?
  • The One Healthy Ingredient Registered Dietitians Always Have in Their Pantries


Photo provided by Florida’s Natural®

I Ask, You Answer: Interview with Lindsay Raley, farmer, Florida’s Natural Growers

As most of you know I have partnered with non-from-concentrate Florida’s Natural® Brand Orange Juice since last year. A month or so ago I had the opportunity to chat with one of their citrus growers. I was fascinated!!! Thought it would be SO cool to share some of my discussion with you.

1. How did you wind up in the orange business?

My family has been farming citrus since the early part of the twentieth century and my mother was a citrus farmer, so I’m no stranger to a Florida orange grove. My story is a little different than a lot of farmers in that my mother managed our family farming operation. I grew up in our family groves and have really enjoyed having a job that allows me to be outside, growing wonderful Florida oranges. It’s an honor to carry on my mother’s tradition of managing a multi-generational family farm and giving consumers the best tasting oranges for Florida’s Natural.

2. What’s a typical day like in the groves? Do you have to get up with the roosters?

Every day is a little bit different, that’s for sure! The days are long and I must admit that I enjoy the early mornings.  I do need to wake up early enough to check the weather and ensure that conditions are clear for the day’s activities. We also plan our day to get a head start.  Weather really affects everything it takes to grow oranges for great-tasting orange juice, from the leaf production and blossom development on the trees to the size, shape, color and flavor of the oranges. An unexpected rain shower can change the plans of the day and it can be a cost cutting measure. I also help coordinate harvesting the oranges and getting them to Lake Wales where they are squeezed. Did you know that the oranges in Florida’s Natural travel less than 100 miles from where they are grown?  No, but now I do!

3. How many oranges does a tree produce in a year?

The average citrus tree can produce about 900 to 1200 pieces of fruit a year. And a healthy citrus tree can have a life span that rivals a human’s. That’s a lot of oranges!

4. Are there different oranges for juice vs. eating whole? And do you grow both?

Here’s a fun fact: Most varieties of Florida oranges are used primarily for juicing, while oranges from other parts of the country are what you’d buy in the grocery store to eat whole. The state of Florida estimates about 90% of its oranges are juiced and 10% are packed as fresh.  Florida’s Natural orange juice may contain up to seven different varieties of Florida oranges, each giving the juice a characteristic like color or flavor.  We are proud to be a part of the cooperative.

5. How many oranges go into a half-gallon of juice – like the one I buy?

There are about 16 oranges in one carton of Florida’s Natural® Brand Orange Juice. All 100% from Florida groves, of course! Of course 🙂

Photo provided by

Which Whole Grain is Healthiest?

Quinoa, quinoa, quinoa…..OK,  so maybe I am just a tad tired of hearing about you!!! There are SO many other grains that are just as healthy that I decided to write about it in my latest US News blog. Now don’t get me wrong, if you love quinoa enjoy it! Personally there are others I prefer more and am not afraid to say so. Read on……

Photo provided by

The One Healthy Ingredient Registered Dietitians Have in their Pantries

The “ONE”??? Ha!  I would say I have a lot more than one healthy ingredient in my pantry and actually gave Self Magazine a lot of choices via email. But hey, they chose only only – canned beans – which YES, I always have in my pantry. Check out article above to see what other RDs told them!