National Sunkist Citrus Day on March 1st honors the rich history of California citrus, recognizes the legacy of multi-generational, family-owned Sunkist citrus farms, and celebrated the many health and wellness benefits that Sunkist citrus provides.
CELEBRATING A 130-YEAR LEGACY
The Southern California Fruit Exchange is born, uniting regional growers to sell and market citrus together. Growers rejoice.
The Exchange gives their high-quality, fresh California citrus a name. And that name is Sunkist.
The California Fruit Exchange officially changes its name to “Sunkist Growers,” as the moniker becomes forever linked to high-quality citrus.
Sunkist introduced the iconic lollipop logo with fruit and sprouting leaves. In 2020, the lollipop returned by popular demand.
Sunkist launches the Peel Good Citrus™ tagline and debuts a new citrus character, Cali™ – the Sunkist California mandarin.
The super sweet Sunkist Legacy Heirloom Navel oranges celebrate the Legacy of the cooperative and generations of family farmers.
Sunkist is the longest-standing co-op in the U.S.
MEET THE GROWERS
The Finch Family
The Finch Family has been growing citrus for six decades in Ojai, a magical place known around the world for its steep coastal mountains, cool, windless evenings and a growing climate perfectly suited for some of the most delicious citrus on the market today: the Ojai Pixie tangerine and the Golden Nugget variety mandarin.
The Villicana Family
With a love of farming and an abiding respect for Mother Nature, the Villicana Family represents a new generation of Sunkist citrus growers: those who start as laborers in the orchards and grow to eventually own their own citrus farms.
The Lyall Family
When Warren Lyall’s son Andy convinced him to install solar panels to power the farm’s irrigation system, he wasn’t quite sure how it would turn out. Today, the solar field generates enough energy to cover 80% of the farm’s electric bill – and even returns power to the grid to help sustain the surrounding community.
The Brown Family
With a deep history in California’s Central Valley, the Brown Family continues to grow citrus in the same region farmed by their parents and grandparents, and still live a stone’s throw from each other – and their orchards.
The Kariya Family
As a child Laurie Kariya knew that growing up on a citrus farm in the beautiful Pauma Valley community was special. But she never really understood just how special her neighbors and fellow citrus farmers were until she returned to run the family farm in 2012 – and they all came out to help.
The Laux Family
With a deep passion for growing citrus enjoyed around the world, Gary Laux farms today with his 85-year-old father, Don, while passing along decades of knowledge to his nephew Matt, a young citrus grower learning the family business.
The Donlon Family
One of Ventura County’s pioneering farming families, the Donlons have been growing citrus in these gently rolling coastal hills since the turn of the 19th century. It’s that legacy that leads Sunkist growers Jane Donlon Waters and son Ned to share a special bond with land passed down for generations.
The Leavens Family
Sunkist grower Link Leavens, along with his cousin, Dave, and sister, Leslie, trace their family’s farming lineage back to the early 1900s, when their grandfather moved the family to one of the region’s first farm houses near Santa Paula and began farming the surrounding citrus groves.
Inspired by the challenges of growing the latest citrus varieties, Sunkist grower Sue Caughey takes advantage of the perfect growing conditions of coastal Ventura County to grow the innovative fruits of tomorrow’s marketplace.
The Bozick Family
Growing up in the dry heat of Southern California’s inland deserts, Nick Bozick remembers the long, hot summers of his youth, and became determined to harness that intense desert sun to generate solar power to help fuel the family’s half-century-old citrus growing operation.
The Woodman Family
As an original post-WWII homesteader in undeveloped Yuma, Bob Woodman’s father pioneered citrus farming in the now-fertile Arizona mesa. Today, Bob and his son, Tyler, farm in the family tradition, using the same techniques that have yielded quality citrus fruit for decades.
The Curtis Family
Rocky Curtis was just a kid when he began helping out his father around the family’s citrus farm, one of the 12 Curtis siblings raised among the vast lemon groves in this Arizona border town. Rocky’s son, Kyle, works alongside him in the groves today, bringing fresh ideas to a multi-generational farming operation.