Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Last Packing House in Weirsdale

I'm riding east on Sunset Harbor Road to see the last packing house in Weirsdale. I turn right onto SE137th then cross straight over SR42 and I am on the old RR easement (SE134 ) and there it is on my left, G&S Packers, sandwiched between the railroad and SR25. Originally G&S Packers used the railroad to ship their fruit but in the 1960’s when the railroads upped tracks the fruit went out the other side of the plant in trucks on SR25.  

The packing house was a key part of the citrus industry. It was the packing house that established the market price for the fruit and paid the farmer for it. They would then grade and prepare the fruit for resale directly to the customer or retailers. Packing the fruit was a big part of the marketing and boxes and crates were decorated with colorful labels to attract attention.

Unfortunately G&S Packers has been closed for a couple of years but it is the last citrus packing house in Weirsdale. All that remains to remind us that Lake Weir had a thriving citrus industry. In the 1990's when Florida produced over 250 million cases of citrus G&S would employ over 300 workers to meet the rush of Christmas orders. Nearly every Weirsdale High School student worked there in the holidays and no one was turned away.
The wooden citrus field boxes with dividers on this trailer are standard cases. They hold about 40 lbs of fruit. You can see this trailer and buy fresh picked fruit at Beillings Citrus on SR25 at SE 155th Street. Take the time to chat with Fred Hensley an expert on citrus and get a free history lesson of the Weirsdale area.

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