One of the best things about Florida is the abundance of natural resources that are available right in our own backyard. Dooley Groves, located in the southernmost portion of Hillsborough County , is a great place for everyone, locals and tourists, to see a working citrus grove and take home fresh fruit to enjoy.
Dooley Groves is a working grove that is known as the biggest “U-Pick” Honeybell Grove in the State of Florida, offering their visitors the freshest citrus since the 1960’s. Visit the grove anytime from the middle of November until April and you will get an incredible experience.
The process is quite easy and a lot of fun! Upon arriving at Dooley Groves, be sure to check the sign to find out the next time for a “U-Pick Tour”. Tours usually run every 15-20 minutes daily between 10am until 4pm. The tour guide will announce when it’s time to head out, but first you’ll be given clippers and choose the size of basket you’ll need to collect your fruit.
On the way out, visitors learn a few facts about the Grove and the machinery that is being built right there at Dooley Groves to prevent Greening, a disease that could potentially kill off the citrus population in Florida.
The Grove consists of acres and acres of citrus trees so, depending on when you visit and the type of fruit that is in season, you will be taken to that part of the Grove. Sugarbelles are currently in season at the Grove.
Below is a list of the fruit available for U-Pick and the time of availability:
- November & December: Sugarbelles and Christmas Tangerines
- January & beginning of February: Honeybells
- End of February: Seedless Tango Tangerines
- March & April: Ortaniques and Honey Tangerines
After a short walk you will arrive at the Sugarbelles’ section of the Grove. The guide will show you how to cut the fruit from the tree properly without damaging the tree, and you will be on your way!
Browse the rows of trees looking for the perfect fruit to take home, filling your basket along the way. Although bags and purses aren’t permitted on the “U-Pick Tour” you will definitely want to bring your phone and/or camera to take pictures along the way. (Also consider wearing closed in shoes when going on a tour considering that it is a bit of a walk through the groves and uneven surfaces are always a possibility.)
Once you return to the main building your freshly picked fruit will be weighed and bagged, costing $1.79 per pound.
The Market located at the front of Dooley Groves offers a various selection of citrus, fresh honey and other freshly made foods and gifts so, be sure to stop by on the way out and pick something up.
Dooley Groves also has gift packs and other gift ideas that can be easily shipped to friends and family across the country. Check out the official website for gift ideas and shipping information.
Dooley Groves is located at 1651 Stephens Road, Ruskin, Florida.