For the first time, Groveland landscaping firm Cherrylake has opened its property to the public for a series of u-pick days. Cherrylake Farm Days are being held four Saturdays in a row, with the first happening last weekend and the next dates Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.

The community event features food trucks, specialty mixed drinks, kids’ activities, a native pollinator garden, farm tractor rides, live music, an artisan marketplace and special access to pick a variety of tasty tangerines grown only in Florida. Cherrylake also sells fresh Florida red and white grapefruit and oranges from their groves in Indian River County.

“We are a working farm with activity 24/7 to keep our crops growing and thriving. It’s a real treat to be able to take a break and invite the community to experience the beauty of the farm,” said Chloe Gentry, co-CEO of Cherrylake and IMG Citrus.

One special feature of the site is the new Pavilion Garden, a pollinator garden that is full of native wildflowers and other native and Florida-friendly plants that draw in butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife. To encourage exploration of the garden, cards with scavenger hunt questions offer visitors clues about the plants and other natural features. In addition, landscape professional Jimmy Rogers was in the garden, offering information and insights about not just the garden, but the benefits of planting native plants in general, to visitors moseying the trails.

The property also has two areas called The Edge, located along Cherry Lake Road, where attractively landscaped native trees, shrubs and plants are on display for all who drive by the farm. A quick stop when leaving the Nov. 26 Farm Day revealed a wide variety of beautiful plants, from native pines to clumping grasses and fall-blooming wildflowers.

Cherrylake has been farming in Groveland for over 40 years and is one of the largest ornamental tree farms and fresh Florida citrus growers in North America. It began when husband and wife Michel and Veronique Sallin purchased the land in the early 1980s. Today their three children, Gentry, Melanie Ressler and Timothee Sallin, lead the operations as co-CEOs.

The land was originally all citrus groves. Freezes in 1983 and 1985 devastated the groves, however, and the Sallin family decided to plant different crops. Today, the farm grows ornamental trees, shrubs and palms, and also continues to farm citrus in Groveland and other parts of the Sunshine State.

Cherrylake has opened the property to other events over the years, including hosting the Farm Races since 2018 for professional and amateur athletes to run the clay trails of the farm and bike the hills of Cherry Lake Road.

Gentry and her family are hopeful to continue to offer more opportunities like U-Pick Farm Days.

“We want to share the farm with others, provide opportunities for families and friends to have fun and connect with nature,” Gentry said.

The event will take place at 7836 Cherry Lake Road, Groveland, each day 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For more information, follow Cherrylake on Facebook and email trees@cherrylake.com.

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