South Tex Organics

South Texas Organics

Growing citrus worthy of its own utensil.

Eat Texas Published in
Bonnie Published by

My love affair with grapefruit began with the silverware drawer, where I found that the jagged end of a grapefruit spoon made an effective sibling torture device. Poor Meggo. Eventually, I came to appreciate the practical luxury of keeping an entire set of spoons for the sole purpose of extracting grapefruit supremes, and left my little sister to her own devices. Ironically, after Grandmom passed away, Megan was the one who received the silverware, including the grapefruit spoons. Still, Texas grapefruit (and oranges and lemons) were, from the beginning, right at the top of my list of locally produced food I wanted to showcase in the book. ┬áHere’s a taste of it–no special utensil required.

So, we’re pretty much in Mexico right now?

On our trip down to Mission, TX, to visit with Dennis Holbrook of South Tex Organics, Mr. Trent was in a constant state of awe at our proximity to our south-of-the-border neighbors. Not only that, but it was fascinating to see how citrus groves were embedded as part of the landscape. The view from the car window went a little something like this: house, house, citrus grove, house, auto repair shop, house, citrus grove, citrus grove, carniceria, house, citrus grove.

It’s All About the Dirt.

Mr. Holbrook was more than generous with his time and fruit (pounds and pounds of in-season oranges!), but the most eye-opening part of our visit was when he took us to one of his groves where the lemons were as big as cantaloups. This organic meyer lemon grove was just across a little irrigation canal from a conventionally grown (with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) grove, and once glance at the soil was enough to realize the discrepancy between the two. See for yourself. Both groves started in the same Rio Grande dirt, but which one looks like the healthier, more nutrient-rich soil to you?


Why does it matter? Aside from the whole taking care of the planet argument, replenishing the soil with organic matter in turn nourishes the plant, thus enriching the taste of the fruit that comes from it. The flavor of South Tex Organics citrus is unlike any other produced in the U.S., and because the soil is higher in nutrient content, the organically grown fruit tends to have more vitamin C and antioxidants, too. (But mostly the taste thing.)

You can find South Tex Organics citrus in season at Whole Foods (who were carrying the company’s products before “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was released in theaters), or you can have it delivered to your door by ordering online at ChkaChkachkaaaaa.