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Students at Grady County Schools will receive a sweet holiday treat this week courtesy of the owners of an area citrus grove.
Perry and Lindy Savelle, owners of Georgia Grown Citrus, LLC, donated approximately 800 pounds of satsumas for local school children to enjoy.
Cairo High School Young Farmers teacher Malone Harrell had recently invited Lindy Savelle to speak at an upcoming Young Farmer meeting and was able to coordinate the donation to the local schools.
The Savelles of Ochlocknee planted their citrus groves in 2016 in Mitchell and Thomas counties. The couple say they have been blessed with cooperative weather, careful production techniques and good South Georgia soil and were able to go to fruit production in 2019, one year ahead of their original schedule.
Local students as well as students in the Pelham City Schools and the Mitchell County Correctional Institution have benefited from the generosity of the Savelles.
The citrus growers explained that fruit produced by young trees produce great tasting fruit, but it is sometimes larger than what can be marketed commercially so they clip the fruit off and share it.
“Sharing with others gives you a great feeling. We could’ve juiced this fruit, but to us what we did was better,” the Savelles say.
Not only do local students receive a good, nutritional fruit, but they also have the opportunity to learn about a locally grown agricultural commodity produced in southwest Georgia.
Young Farmers teacher Harrell said she is attempting to highlight agri businesses other than traditional row crop farmers to broaden the scope of her students.
It was through this effort that Harrell and the Savelles began to collaborate.
Lindy Savelle also serves as the president of the Georgia Citrus Association. She says there are around 1,000 acres of citrus planted in Georgia.
According to Lindy Savelle, this year’s market for satsumas soared with demand exceeding supply. She explains that as time goes on and trees mature, the demand and marketable fruit will both continue to grow.
The Savelle’s citrus farm, JONINA Farms, is located in Ochlocknee and they also grow Key limes, Meyer lemons, Flame & UGA Grapefruit, & Cara Cara Navel fruit.
“Our students are truly blessed by such thoughtful gifts such as the Savelle’s donation of these tasty satsumas. I’m sure our children will really enjoy them. We appreciate them thinking of us and appreciate what they are doing for agriculture in southwest Georgia,” said Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard.