A jaboticaba tree at SweetSong Groves

SweetSong Groves grows and markets tropical and subtropical fruit on Florida’s southwest coast. It’s our good fortune to be a “hobby business.” So we can grow fruit the way that most commercial growers would love to, were it not for the relentless price competition from industrialized agriculture and its destructive practices. Our mission is to produce the highest quality, healthiest, and freshest fruit possible, to educate buyers and expand the market for local fruit, to support other growers, and to enrich the ecology on our land.

Our principal location is a 2-acre residential property in a semi-urban setting in north Sarasota County (under the red lychee fruit on our logo). The plantings include about 150 subtropical and tropical fruit trees, also bananas, papayas, oaks, slash pines, bee and butterfly-supporting native plants, ornamental shrubs, and tropical vegetables. About 120 of the fruit trees are planned as commercial producers, including mangos, avocados, canistels, carambolas, sapodillas, jaboticabas, lemons, black sapotes, wax jambu, white sapotes, (grafted dark) Surinam cherries, longans, loquats, and lychees.

SweetSong Groves is in the process of obtaining organic certification, but our growing practices are ecological— well beyond the certification requirements. Influenced by permaculture, we work with Nature, not against her.

Wood chip mulch from local tree pruners

We think in terms of ecologies. Toxic agents put into the ecology spread through the system, pushing it out of balance and often leading to effects worse than the original problem. We avoid them to the maximum extent possible, which is pretty much completely. Instead, we enrich the ecology at every level. Our ecology, and thereby our trees, is nourished mainly by clean wood-chip mulch, dropped off by our tree-pruner friends who bring it to us instead of taking it to the county dump site.

We regard marketing as a project of education. We know that increasing consumer knowledge about the wonderful subtropical and tropical fruits that grow in our local area will expand the market enormously. Over time, our website will develop as an educational resource for consumers and growers, with more and more information about how to use tropical fruit, and grow it if one wishes. We give classes in tropical fruit horticulture, and tours of our groves. We support the tropical fruit organizations in our area.

Finally, we are local. That means not just that we live near our buyers, but also that our production is transparent— SweetSong fruit has an identity. You will always be able to look up and learn about the actual tree that produced your fruit, and find out whatever you want about how it was produced. We are proud of our fruit and of everything that goes into it.

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