Our Growers

 Meet the Grower: Benny McLean


Grove Locations:  3 locations in Lake County, Florida
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 1999
Crops: 6 acres of Navels, Valencias, Honeybell Tangelos, Red Grapefruit, and Pummelos; 5 acres of peaches and 66 acres of Sunburst Tangerines and Honey Tangerines (part owner).
Acreage: 77 acres. Benny is also head of production over all 800 acres in the Uncle Matt’s Organic Farm Plan.

Known affectionately as “Papaw” to his more than a dozen grandkids, Benny is the patriarch of the Uncle Matt’s Organic family. His wealth of experience in growing citrus, and today organic citrus, spans over half a century and has taken him all over Florida and Latin America as an international growing consultant. Benny was recently recognized for his contributions to the organic industry and named “Organic Farmer of the Year” by the Organic Trade Association.

Read more about Benny McLean’s farm…

Meet the Grower: Dr. John Attaway

Grove Location:  Two Polk County, Florida groves located in Haines City and Lake Wales
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2005
Crops: Orange varieties are White navel, Hamlin, and Temple. Tangerines include Mercot, Sunburst and Robinson. Dr. Attaway grows organic Red grapefruit for Uncle Matt’s as well.
Acreage: 36 acres

Dr. John Attaway is a second-generation citrus grove owner having inherited a few hundred acres from his father in 1972. His father, Forrest Attaway, moved his family from Atlanta, Georgia to Haines City, Florida in 1947 when John was 17-years-old. At that time, Forrest  bought several hundred acres of citrus groves and began to farm them conventionally. Read more about Dr. John Attaway’s farm…

Meet the Grower: Julia Johnson & Joshua High

Josh High Family Organic Citrus Growers

Grove Names: Julglo Groves and Montevista Farms
Location:         Lake County, Florida
Acreage: Julglo – 55 acres; Montevista – 175 acres
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2007
Crops: Julglo has Fall-Glos, White Navels, Cara-Cara Navels, Hamlins, Red Grapefruit, and Valencias. Montevista  has Ambersweets, Fall-Glos, Sunburst tangerines, Orlandos, Hamlins, Red and Pink grapefruit, Valencias

When Joshua High and Julia Johnson became organic grove owners, you could say they were coming back home. For the first twelve years of his life, Joshua grew up in the citrus groves in Clermont, Florida where His dad worked in grove care services.

Read more about their farm…

 Meet the Grower: Jim Lee

Grove Location: North of Clermont, Florida in Lake County
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2005
Crops: 7 acres of Sunburst tangerines, 3 acres of Orlando Tangelos, 10 acres of navels, 9 acres of Red Grapefruit, 10 acres of Valencia oranges, 1 acre of garden variety and Fall-Glo tangerines
Acreage: 40 acres

Jim Lee has been working with citrus growers since 1957. For two decades, he worked as a professional engineer as an irrigation specialist for both tractor and sprinkler companies.

Read more about Jim Lee’s farm…

Meet the Grower: David Kester

David Kester, Organic Citrus Grower

Grove Name: Kester Groves
Location: South Clermont, Florida
Acreage: 20
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2016
Crops: Orlando tangelos, Starburst tangerines, and Sugar Belles (to be planted in Fall, 2016)

Looking out over 20 acres of farmland in Central Florida’s South Lake county, David Kester has a vision –– a vision to someday see 2,000 Sugar Belle citrus trees thriving and producing sweet and healthy organic fruit three years from late 2016. David represents just a handful of organic citrus growers in Lake County that would dream that big. Read more about David Kester’s dream for organic citrus…

Meet the Grower: Murray Bass

Grove Location: Homestead, Florida, just south of Miami
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2009
Crops: 8 Different varieties of avocados
Acreage: 20
Season: June – January

Murray Bass is an avocado connoisseur. He knows about the 50 different varieties of avocados. He can talk purebred or hybrid — and whether an avocado’s got West Indian, Guatemalan or Mexican “blood” in it. And now that Murray’s gone organic, he’s positioned himself to become a new favorite with guacamole makers looking for a healthy edge in their recipe.  Read more about Murray Bass’ avocado groves…

Meet the Growers: Jim and Babs Vitter


Grove Location: North of Clermont in South Lake County, Florida
Acreage: 3.5
Crops: 2 acres of Fall-Glo tangerines, 1 acre of Ruby Red and Flame grapefruit, .25 acre Honeybell tangelos, .25 persimmons
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 1999

Babs Vitter never thought she’d say she “loved” walking through the groves. But the grove on her and her husband’s property north of Clermont, Florida changed all that.  After the last hard Florida freeze in 1989, Babs and Jim replanted their grove with one pine tree to every four citrus trees, taking the advice of her father and brother. Read more about the Vitter family’s farm…

Meet the Grower: Marty Werts

Grove Location: Melrose, FL (20 miles east of Gainesville)
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2004
Crops: Grapefruit (including Marsh White, Ruby Red and Flame varieties)
Acreage: 5 acres, 3.5 in production

Marty Werts loves to help things grow. From his beginnings as organic gardener almost 40 years ago, Marty has parlayed his horticultural talents into a long-standing position as the grounds superintendent for the University of Florida located in Gainesville, Florida. He oversees caretaking for over 300 acres of university grounds, with responsibilities ranging from grounds maintenance and landscaping to irrigation and construction. Read more about Marty Werts’ citrus groves…

Meet the Grower: Doug McCormack

Grove Location: Yalaha, Florida
UM Grower Since: 2010
Crops: Blueberries
Acreage: 4 acres

Just like Uncle Matt, organic blueberry grower Doug McCormack comes from a fourth generation Florida Ag family. His father started an indoor foliage nursery in 1962 in Apopka and Doug was born in 1969. Ever since he was old enough to walk, Doug was in and out of greenhouses, underneath the benches, playing with the plastic underneath the benches and looking up at the steam pipes. Soon, he got old enough to weed underneath the benches and Doug reports, “That’s when the fun stopped.” Read more about Doug McCormack’s blueberry farm…

Meet the Growers: Gant Lake Farms, John Drawdy & Kelly Drawdy Pearce

Grove Location: Webster, Florida
UM Grower Since: 2012
Crops: Blueberries
Acreage: 20 acres

When brother and sister John Drawdy and Kelly Drawdy Pearce inherited farmland near Webster, Florida, they knew they had been entrusted with a family legacy. The land nestled amongst the gorgeous live oak trees had been farmed by their family since the 1850s; everything from grass-fed cattle to vegetable farming to citrus groves. Like generations before them, John and Kelly grew up on this farmland, spending their childhood days learning to be caretakers of the land.  Learn more about Gant Lake Farms…

Meet the Grower: Mary Eddy

Grove Location: SE Lake County in between Clermont and Winter Garden
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2004
Crops: Hamlin (Dec/Jan/Feb), Valencia (April/May), and Red Grapefruit
Acreage: 100 acres

Since the 1930’s, Grandpa Joseph Eddy owned what is now called the “Eddy Grove” in South Lake County, Florida. He grew his own rootstock and tilled the land himself.  His son, George, married Mary [getting maiden name] in 1946. In 1959, George and Mary moved to a house at the bottom of the grove to help run the farm.

Read more about Mary Eddy’s farm…

Meet the Growers: The White Family

Grove Location: Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida
UMO Grower Since: 2013
Crops: Blueberries
Acreage: 2 acres

Although Jeremy White hasn’t been growing organic blueberries for long, he’s on a “self-education” track that’s yielding a lot of fruit! As the Uncle Matt’s blueberry truck driver, Jeremy has been learning from other local organic blueberry growers and the Uncle Matt’s team all about the ins-and-outs of farming sustainably in Central Florida. Along with his dad and uncle, Jeremy’s two-acre farm is producing plump, delicious organic blueberries that are being sold in Publix and other fine grocers. What’s more, White family plans on expanding their blueberry operation in the coming seasons. Learn more about their family farm…

Meet the Growers: The Davis Family

dan-davisFarm Name: Davis Family Orchards
Grove Location: Plant City, FL
UM Grower Since: 2011
Crop: Peaches (3 firm-flesh “non-melting” varieties developed by the University of Florida and one soft-flesh “melting” variety called Tropic Beauty)
Acreage: 20

Although Dan Davis is a relatively new organic grower (2011), he’s still a pioneer for the emerging Florida organic peach industry that’s growing in acreage every year. Assisted by Uncle Matt’s production team, Dan and his son Danuel are cultivating 20 acres of peaches in Plant City, Florida, located east of Tampa. A computer engineer by trade and COO of a financial services company, Dan started his orchard as a hobby and has employed his 22-year-old son, Danuel, full-time to run the day-to-day operations of the orchard which is now fully certified organic for 2014. Learn more about the Davis Family Farm…

Charles Counter, Organic GrowerMeet the Grower: Charles Counter

Grove Location: Winter Haven, Florida (Polk County)
Uncle Matt’s Grower Since: 2014
Crops and Acreage: Three different varieties of peaches  (14 acres), five different varieties of blueberries (7 acres), one variety of blackberries (.75 acres with 3 additional in production for 2016)

For the past 20 years, Charles has been the Director of Field Operations for Haines City Citrus Growers Association, an 8,000-acre fresh citrus producer located in Polk County, Florida. Charles manages all the caretaking and harvesting operations for the company. His expertise includes all aspects of production, including: land preparation for planting, installing micro-jet irrigation systems, inspecting each grove for pests and monitoring the groves’ nutritional levels year round. Learn more about Charles Counter…

Rave Reviews

My family loves Uncle Matt’s Organic Orange Juice. My husband was drinking some yesterday and asked meditatively, “How can this juice taste so different from other juices?” I’m not sure whether the difference can be credited entirely to it being organic, or if y’all work some special mojo on the side, but we love it either way! Thanks again for making amazing orange juice! — Sarah L., Atlanta, GA

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