Page 28 - 2018Magazine3
P. 28

An Emerging

                                  Vision for

                      Georgia Citrus

                         Lindy Savelle’s passion for the family farm,

                     satsumas and networking with fellow growers is

                               powering Georgia’s citrus industry.

                                            [ By Kenna Simmons ]

                       f you hear “citrus” and immediately think Florida, you might want to adjust
                       your mental map a few miles north – specifically, to the counties around
                       Valdosta, Thomasville and Camilla, Georgia. That’s where Lowndes County
                  IExtension Coordinator Jake Price was talking with a few people in 2013
                  about growing satsumas, a seedless mandarin orange that ripens early and –
                  most important – is cold tolerant down to about 15 degrees. In fact, satsumas
                  need some chilly nights to develop sweet fruit. Satsumas weren’t foreign to
                  South Georgia – Price thinks there may have been five to seven acres of the trees
                  scattered about. With some networking, farmers and nursery owners soon
                  became more interested in the idea of Georgia citrus.
                    Lindy Savelle was one of the people with that vision. A retired FBI agent who
                  served as an investigator for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan
                  Reconstruction (SIGAR), Savelle’s eclectic background led her to Iraq, Kuwait
                  and Afghanistan before bringing her back home. It was a dream career, but she
                  knew she needed something to “fill that void and keep me busy,” she says.
                  A Family Affair
                  Savelle said she also wanted to use her and her husband’s small farms to give
                  something back to the community. So she tapped into her investigative talents,
                  talking to Price and to University of Georgia plant researcher Wayne Hanna of
                  Tifton. Hanna is world famous for his turfgrass breeding, but has also been
                  developing seedless citrus fruit that can withstand Georgia winters. Soon she
                  had put in five acres of citrus, mostly satsuma trees.

        [ 26 ]                                                                                Georgia Grown
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