Dundee Citrus Growers Association
- For Lindsay Raley, keeping the citrus operation his mother and father had spent most of their lives establishing in the family was never a question.
- Lindsay's weekly operations include overseeing the packinghouse and, as seen here, frequent trips to the groves to inspect the condition of the trees and fruit.
- Lindsay says that people are often surprised to find out that he's a citrus grower, but quickly learn to appreciate that he's part of a grower-owned cooperative like Florida's Natural.
Citrus has always been a huge part of Lindsay Raley's life. That's why it's no surprise his path led him back to the groves after several years spent in Colorado. Little did he realize his path was set long before he was even born.
Lindsay's mother, Thelma Raley, married her first husband, Ed Cornell, who started the family citrus business in the 1920s. Ed became a founding member of Dundee Citrus Growers Association (DCGA) in 1924. When he passed away, Thelma decided to run the business herself, becoming one of the few women at the time to do so. She later married Lindsay's father, William L. Raley, Sr., and together they became very prominent in several grower organizations, including Florida's Natural Growers. Their leadership in the citrus grower community eventually earned them both inductions into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame.
Needless to say, it was a natural decision for Lindsay to keep on the path his parents had laid out for him.
"I hadn't expected to run our family business," says the University of Colorado grad. "But as my parents aged our family had to make a decision about running the grove operations. Because citrus is in my blood I couldn't imagine it not being a part of our family." He moved home in 1986 to learn the ropes of his parents' prized operation.
Having grown up spending most of his weekends in the groves with his parents, he developed a good foundation for the growing side. But when it came time to move into his role as President of Raley Groves, he learned to run the daily operations the only way there is, by doing. "I listened to other growers, I read a lot, and relied on a lot of our friends in the industry," he says, adding that his family's basic values of hard work, dedication, and loyalty to employees often take him out in the groves with his sleeves rolled up, doing whatever it takes. "There's nothing I ask them to do that I haven't done myself."
In his unexpected career as a grower, Lindsay has become an active member of the growing community. He followed his father's lead as President and Chairman of the Board for DCGA, Florida's Natural Growers Director, and member of the Florida Citrus Commission. He also supports industry-related organizations like Florida's Citrus Mutual and Farm Bureau.
As Lindsay continues to add to his parents' success, he views his involvement in Florida's Natural Growers Cooperative as a way to share with consumers the authenticity of their dedication. "People I've met are fascinated with the story of a grower-owned orange juiceIs Your Juice Imported?
Find out where your juice comes from. company. Because it's not imported, they know it's good. It's important to keep giving customers a healthy, quality product."
Sam, Lindsay's teenage son, is very interested in the family farming operations and has intentions of returning home after college. Lindsay says he would love to pass along his passion for the industry to him. It's a path he's worked hard to pave, and hopes will continue for generations to come.