County Road 12: May look like Florida, but this citrus farmer is from Alex City

CR 12: May look like Florida, but this citrus farmer is from Alex City

ALEX CITY, AL (WSFA) - What comes to your mind when your think about citrus crops. Those juicy oranges or bitter lemons. So, where do they come from? Most of them are grown in Florida, but not all of them.

“This is the furthest north I know that grapefruits are grown,” said citrus farmer David Sanford.

Sanford lives in Alex City. Years ago, he had a friend who tried growing citrus crops. Sanford was curious, so he tried it himself.

The thing you figure our real quickly about Sanford: everything he does, he does it well.

“I love the smell of dirt. When you turn it over and plow it. It has this smell that the Lord has put on this Earth, that nothing can match.” Sanford said.

He built his own greenhouses and turned his Alabama land into a little citrus farm.

"I started off this hobby raising satsuma oranges. Then I got to the lemons, then grapefruits, then kumquats."

The trick to having good fruit is you have to keep them from freezing. Sanford has huge barrels filled with water inside his greenhouses.

“You put water in them during the day. The sun heats up the water. At night the water produces heat for the greenhouse. If you come in here when the temperature is 60 degrees outside, even with the doors open it’ll be 100 degrees inside.” Sanford says.

He calls this retirement, but Sanford is on the move full time, and he loves it. His favorite part is when someone gets a taste of all of his hard work.

"This is a delicious piece of fruit. If you can find anything better please let me know. I come out here and eat 10 to 12 a day.”

If you’d like to buy some you can give him a call David Sanford at (256) 749-8486 or (256) 234-5483.

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