SWGA citrus farmers expand into agritourism, give to non-profits

OCHLOCKNEE, Ga. (WALB) – When you think of Georgia, citrus fruits might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

However, a company in Georgia is helping the industry expand in Georgia. In the coming weeks, they will also help non-profit organizations.

Lindy Savelle co-owns JoNina Farm with her husband Perry. They have owned a family farm in Ochlocknee for almost a century. Starting out as a cattle ranch, Savelle’s turned to citrus. She remembers a few years ago when a 5-10 acre citrus farm in South Georgia was considered large.

“Now 5-10 acres is a very small grower. Broadly speaking, we have growers who have 150 to 200 hectares and more of citrus,” Savelle said.

Some would call it a sweet partnership. JoNina Farm and Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization, collaborated at an event on Sunday. Through the partnership, Savelle donates 10% of the day’s profits to Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is an after-school program for girls in third through eighth grade. It teaches them to be confident and live a healthy, happy life.

“It will really go a long way with our scholarships. It will help the girls get involved. We’re also providing shoes and an after-school snack,” said Mary Crawford, the general manager of Girls On The Run in South Georgia.

JoNina Farms is a nearly hundred year old farm but has recently expanded their citrus flavor.
JoNina Farms is a nearly hundred year old farm but has recently expanded their citrus flavor.(WALB)

“It’s really great to see the opportunities for healthy living in South Georgia. That really resonates with our organization and the message we’re trying to get across to our girls and their families,” Crawford said.

This growing season, Savelle is trying something new. To attract business and continue to grow, they are shifting to agritourism. Your commercial sales season is over for the year. Now JoNina Farm opens their grove to the public at certain times.

“We just opened it to the public because we don’t want this fruit to go to waste. The grove, it looks like we haven’t even touched it. There’s so much fruit,” Savelle said.

As part of their expansion, they help local nonprofits like Girls on the Run. The event only runs until the second week of December. The grove alone offers seven varieties of satsumas. There are also kumquats, grapefruit, honey/Page tangerines, UGA Sweet Frost tangerines, Valencia oranges and Georgia kisses.

Below is a list of the charitable support events that JoNina Farm will be hosting through the end of the year:

  • 19.11. The Treehouse Children’s Academy Advocacy Center of Thomasville 11am-3pm
  • 11/20 Thomas County Humane Society 1pm-4pm
  • 11/25 Vashti Center 11am-3pm
  • 11/26 The Mac Crutchfield Foundation 11am-3pm
  • 11/27 Thomasville History Center 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m
  • 12/3 Luke 10 Ministries 11am-3pm
  • 12/10 Hands on Thomas County 11am-3pm
  • 12/11 South Georgia FCA Outdoors 1pm-4pm

JoNina Farm is located at 2273 Malloy Road, Ochlocknee, Georgia.

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