Remembering the Citrus Workers

By Selys Rivera, Frank S. Bouis Family Student Fellow 

Being a citrus worker was definitely not a glamorous job, but it was a necessary and important one. 

 
Worker filling bins with citrus

The job was physically demanding, requiring workers to handpick citrus and place it in bags at the groves. They could pick more than 7000 pounds of fruit per day, emptying their bags into pallet boxes that could hold 900 pounds of fruit.

[Grove worker dumping citrus into crates]

Other jobs included washing, grading, and packing the fruit for sales to grocers

Plant worker and conveyor with fruit

and delivering produce to processing plants for juice extraction. 

Plant worker stacking up bruce boxes of Florence fruit

The work included long hours, heavy lifting, humble pay, and repetitive work, but season after season racially diverse men and women did their jobs. 

Plant worker sorting fruit

They worked behind the scenes for customers to be able to enjoy the amazing citrus the sunshine state of Florida could produce.  

Plant worker at control panel with citrus on conveyor behind him

Please join us as we remember the citrus workers and give them the recognition they deserve in this digital exhibit.

Grove worker up a ladder, field crates of fruit in foreground

All of these images are available in the McKay Archives Online Database.