…dedicated and passionate gardeners in their own right who run a commercial specialty nursery with the same commitment. Incredibly friendly, super-knowlegeable and always ready to make an extra effort. -JRS, Carrabelle, FL
Living and Fruit Gardening in The Garden Of Eden
Just Fruits and Exotics was created to fill the niche for fruit growers gardening in Zones 7-9. This unique climate holds the possibility of growing one of the widest ranges of fruits in the world.
This unique belt of land that hugs the lower 48 truly is the Garden of Eden. We have warm enough winters to grow tropical fruits, like citrus, bananas and figs, and cool enough winters to produce the temperate fruits, such as apples, peaches, pears and blueberries. Most of this is possible as a resultof the fruit breeding programs at the various universities throughout the region. Their work has produced fruit varieties that will thrive in our climate of warm, short winters and hot, humid summers.
We work to supply these releases as well as our own unique finds. It is one of our passions to search out old, forgotten homestead fruits and tried and true varieties recommended to us by fruit enthusiasts in our region. We are always on the lookout for new varieties. So, if you know of a great variety that we aren’t growing, please let us know, so we can share it with everyone.
How it began….
You know, I’m always amazed at where the seeds of a life-long passion are sown. Mine started in a family garden where we grew all our food organically. It was the 60’s. Composting was in, and brown rice, tempura and organic vegetables were the norm (was that the 60’s or 90’s? I’m confused). At any rate, between getting broiled in the sun and much weeding, we grew a lot of vegetables, and I grew a love of gardening.
The nursery was originally started by my father and myself. My father was affectionately known as “the old hippie” and had a habit of changing names and characters every ten years or so. For this particular era he was “J.J. the Amazing Philosophical Fruit Farmer.” And so Just Fruits was created as a place where you could come buy some fruit trees and get a good rap on the inner workings and secret sex lives of plants (he lied a lot).
Our motto was, “If you can’t eat it, we don’t need it.” But, as one of my favorite gurus once said, “All things must pass.” My dad died in ’96, and thus began another chapter in the Just Fruits chronicles.
Now my first love has always been hunting down, and figuring out how to grow, odd and strange varieties of plants. I felt the nursery needed a change. So Just Fruits and Exotics was born as a great place to get not only fruit trees but also some very outrageous and unusual varieties of ornamentals. Plus, you still get the good rap on how to grow them (only I don’t get into the secret sex life part as I think most plants are fairly private about those kinds of things, and I’m not a very good liar anyway).
Ted, my husband, and I now run the retail nursery and mail order business. Ted (my truly better half) has brought so much to the nursery and it has definitely blossomed under his encouragement, support and guidance.
We’ve been truly blessed with great help, loyal friends, and fantastic customers — all the things that have made this a fun and rewarding business to be in. And thanks to you, we will continue to grow, thrive and be successful at helping you grow your gardens and orchards.
IN SALES: Marquetta is my sister. She’s a big part of our family run business. Retired from a career in the Navy she has brought a world of organization to our nursery. We can now find things in the field as well as on the computer. She runs the field inventory, makes shipping out your plants a snap, and keeps the retail area ship shape (no gear adrift here!).
In Memory – Sally Levings
Sally passed away in 2007. Although she is gone we still owe her a deep debt of graditude as she was one of our true guiding lights. She’s given us so many good ideas and helped immensely to set us on the right path. We will alway hold true to the spirit she helped us create.