When Wray first came to Florida, he sold real estate for Homeseekers, one of Joseph W. Young’s companies. He noticed the shortage of oranges during the summer and the high prices. He saw the late summer-maturing Lue Gim Gong Valencia oranges, developed by a botanist in central Florida, as a new opportunity. The fruit could be harvested when the other varieties were out of season.
The first trees were planted in tight rows and would be replanted later.
Young 5-6 foot trees are pruned by 1/3 and then dug up. The soil is washed off the roots again. The trees are packed in a bundle and sent to the banting crew.
The banting crew replanted the trees over 40 acres with plenty of room to grow to maturity. Robert Wood, shows a young tree in the planted grove.
Frank Stirling and Robert Wood stand behind a small healthy, growing tree.
It takes years for the trees to mature and bear fruit.
As the first trees grew, others were started and replanted. More varieties of citrus were included in the expanding grove.
To raise funds during the depression, Wray offered 5-acre parcels for sale with a five-year contract. Flamingo Groves would care for the trees. After five years, buyers had the option to return the land at a previously specified price or receive the profits for sale of the fruit.