Indian River County’s citrus industry once vied with tourism as the county’s primary economic engine. And the grapefruit it produced was prized around the world.
Sadly, the citrus business collapsed statewide in the mid-2000s, and most of the land that once supported lush green citrus groves is now blanketed with homes, shopping centers, office buildings, service businesses, restaurants and other commercial development.
The remaining citrus growers have downsized considerably, diversified and otherwise found their niche in order to continue to support their families, contribute to the local economy and give back to their community.
The Schacht family, guided by third-generation Louis Schacht, is one such example – and proof that hard work, flexibility and creativity are keys to surviving in the enervated industry. The 42-year old citrus man works along with his father, 90-year-old Henry F. Schacht, growing grapefruit and oranges and shipping gift fruit. They also run a successful farm store full of local produce and other items, along with a U-pick operation. Plus, they use their land to entertain diners and celebrate special occasions.