This series is looking at the importance of following your dreams in Ecuador or wherever instead of running from your fears in Canada the USA or wherever you live.
Here is our manager, Derek Hylands, in our Florida orange grove checking on our Bio Wash experiments.
Let me share how our dreams led us into agriculture and Bio Wash.
The last message in this series outlined why we began selling everything we had in Florida in 200o (through 2007) and invested in Ecuador. Then in 2008 we began taking profits in Ecuador and buying again in Florida. See this message at Orange Tinted Rose Colored Glass.
This message looked at how we followed our dreams into agriculture.
Simply put… Florida real estate prices were way down… food prices were rising and due to developers who bought orange groves and turned them into housing shut down more and more agriculture coming to market…and this presented a special opportunity.
This site had promoted the idea of investing in agriculture for more than a decade. When Merri and I started investing back in Florida we looked at Lake County, which is surrounded by fast growing, strong farming communities.
Why did we choose Lake County? This is where following the leads that work for you began. We centered our search around our daughter and grandson’s home. This was our epicenter… not opportunity… not farming… certainly not citrus.
When we found the home we loved near our family…. an orange grove was attached… so logic was not involved at all.
What does “Following the lead” have to do with this… we allowed ourselves to be open to such a foolish idea as buying a farm.
The second lead came in the form of Bio Wash. We have written about the merits of this formula for more than a decade.
We immediately ran into grove problems. About a third of the trees in the grove we purchased had root rot that everyone happened to mention before the purchase. They needed to be replaced.
We had to hire these machines…
to yank out about a third of our trees so our grove that looked like this…
ended up looking like this.
That’s farming for you!
We started spraying the trees that were left with Bio Wash. Some of the results included super sized oranges.
Golden orange from our grove. Better than gold in many ways.
There was more. We just sprayed the remaining trees with Bio Wash.
After a year our grove manager wrote: “Last year we used your Bio Wash and we are prepared to use it for you again. The trees do look much better this year.”
By following that lead the grove’s yield increased despite losing a third of the trees.
The year before we bought the grove all the trees produced 1801 boxes of oranges.
We removed one third of the lower producing trees in a grove management plan. We sprayed the remaining 2/3rd with Bio Wash.
With 1/3rd fewer trees, the grove produced 2,484 boxes of oranges in our first year.
In other words, last year the average yield 2.4 boxes a tree… doubled compared from the year before. This increased the income of the grove 37% with 33% less trees.
Our grove manager is one of the largest in Florida. Farmers are conservative so our dinky grove will have to do more than this to make them look at this seriously.
So we asked them to spray with Bio Wash twice in 2011-2012. We did and the harvest came in with 3,394 boxes though we still only have 2/3rds as many producing trees as 2009-2010. Production is up from one box a tree in 2009-2010 to 2.83 boxes this year. With strong citrus prices, we tripled the grove’s income while making it more environmentally friendly and perhaps letting the big boys in this business at least take a glance.
However I am continuing to follow the lead that has been presented to me combining low Florida real estate, rising food prices and Bio Wash.
When we remained open to new ideas, then two or more ideas started coming together to boost profits.
Ted Tidwell who makes Bio Wash wrote: The owner of this farm bought a distressed grove, BioWashed it and I am told sold for substantial profit in 18 months.
This is what we are doing now…looking for distressed groves in Florida or agricultural land in Ecuador to buy… then bring back to quality production and resell.
Imagine this. Some farmers who use Bio Wash have been able to get higher prices for their food because it is “pesticide free” and has reduced fertilization.
I believe enough in these observations to start some testing in our orange grove. Recently my grandson, Garren, and I loaded up the Cub Cadet with flagging ribbon… went out into our orange grove and set up four test zones… each at an opposite extreme from one another.
Garren helping me set up our tests.
In each zone we selected sick, healthy and new trees.
A sick tree in our grove flagged yellow.
A healthy tree and…
the newly planted orange trees.
In just two weeks we began to see results. Our manager, Derek Hylands, looks after the grove and sent these photos of the sick trees.
Everyone is pretty surprised that in such a…
short time they can see results. This is new growth on one of the sick trees!
I have asked the grove manager to confirm what…
we think we are seeing… recovery of the sick trees and accelerated growth of the healthy and new trees.
Follow the lead?
We could be onto something big, exciting and good for the environment. Where did it all start? With a vague idea that Florida real estate prices were low and that we wanted a home near our daughter and grandson. That’s the lead we followed. How satisfying!
Your lead to follow should be satisfying for you as well. Our nature is to seek the sweet aromas not run from the bad smells.
What is even more amazing is that when one follows the lead…and looks back it makes so much sense that one says… “Why didn’t I think of that before”?
The future only reveals itself in the present and the past, but there is a rose colored future meant for each of us… that comes when we follow the leads presented.
One More Thought
The propelling drive behind the leads that will present themselves when you are open is Your Purpose.
Seeking proximity to family was one lead that led us to unite Bio Wash and oranges. Our big picture, rose colored purpose was the driving force as you’ll see in tomorrow’s message.