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Yellow Banks Grove, Largo's last citrus packing facility, still relevant after 70 years

Yellow Banks Grove
Yellow Banks Grove
Posted at 4:58 AM, May 14, 2021

LARGO, Fla. — “We can make about 300 gallons of juice an hour,” said John Buck, President and Owner of Yellow Banks Grove.

If you’re looking for the freshest orange juice in Pinellas County, you’ll find it at Yellow Banks Grove in Largo.

“What we produce here you can't go to Publix and get it, or anywhere. You just can’t get it,” Buck said.

Yellow Banks Grove first opened in 1951. It’s one of Florida's oldest packing and shipping facility, and it’s the only one still operating in Pinellas County.

"We don’t have a quarter of the fruit we had back then. The canker, the greening of the fruit, hurricanes and everything else. And it’s run most everybody out of the business. I’m the only one left in this county that does everything from pick the fruit, to ship, to get it to the customer,” said Buck.

Though the fresh orange juice keeps customers coming back, they’re also known for their jams, candies and famous ice cream.

“The ice cream is made out of pure orange juice. And if you come here around 2:30, 3’clock, it’s nothing to see 25 to 30 people with an ice cream cone in their hand. We sell a lot of it,” he said.

Buck said in order to stay relevant, they’ve had to make some changes. They once squeezed juice by hand. Now it’s all done by machinery. Though times have changed, customers remained the same.

“People come in here and thank me for still being here,” he said.

The 87-year-old said as long as customers keep coming, he’ll keep supplying.

“Every day I put my feet on the floor, I feel like I’ve been blessed. I'm 87 years old, but I still feel good and I don’t know what else I would do if I didn’t do this,” said Buck.