In 1939 the Mixons bought a twenty-acre citrus farm and have been selling oranges and other fruit ever since. They now ship all over the country and have expanded the gift store to sell other products. Part of their land is used as a wildlife refuge and for educational purposes. Tractor-drawn tram rides are available three times a day for wildlife tours. I knew this was a place I needed to visit on my way to Robinson Preserve. Unfortunately I missed the ride, so I checked out the gift shop instead.
The gift shop is larger than most and filled with eclectic gifts and souvenirs of all kinds. Many are Florida-themed or orange-themed. There are doormats, wind chimes, soap, and purses. There are books and toys. There are local wines, including pineapple and mango wines. There are salad dressings, salsas, jellies, and countless candies. There are a wide variety of honey products, including honeycomb. They have cheeses flavored with horseradish or maple. They have crystallized ginger, sausages, chocolate-covered potato chips, and gummi centipedes (just like gummi bears, but with more legs). They even have pretzel dips that come in flavors such as Pub Beer, Raspberry, and Key Lime Honey Mustard. Inside the shop is also a café, serving pizza, subs, soups, and Cubans and other sandwiches. Of course they still sell fruit, including star fruit, pomelos, and gigantic ponderosa lemons (just like lemons, but with more…lemon). I just had to go around and look at everything. The staff was very friendly and I felt like I could just hang out there a while. I can see why it has become a popular destination. They tried to tempt me with fudge, but my eyes were bigger than my wallet. I ended up buying peppermint bark instead.
Even with everything else, oranges are still the focus of what they do. They sell orange fruit, orange juice, and orange ice cream. They even have my YouTube hero Annoying Orange. Hey!
2525 27th Street East, Bradenton, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com