Author: J.D. Vivian

Panhandle workshop set for veteran, and small, farmers

The Okaloosa Veteran & Small Farmer Workshop is set for Thursday, July 21, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Okaloosa County Extension Office in Crestview. Find out more about the help and resources available to veterans and small farmers. Admission is free, but Thursday, July 14, is the deadline for registration. The extension office is at 3098 Airport Road, Crestview, in Okaloosa County, in the Panhandle. Call 850-526-4910, or visit...

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Meet the Grower: Richard Wilson of Excalibur Fruit Trees in Lake Worth

By J.D. Vivian Just a half-mile south of crowded Lake Worth Road, Richard Wilson and his wife Lynda own about 17 acres of what Florida used to look – and sound – like. “Listen,” he says, as he stops the golf cart he’s driving. “What do you hear?” He answers himself: “Nothing. It’s quiet.” The Wilsons own Excalibur Fruit Trees in western Lake Worth where the road dead-ends about a half mile north of their nursery. Traffic is a relative rarity. Except, that is, on a busy Saturday morning. Weekends find extra visitors from around the state drawn to Excalibur’s farm that’s open six days a week. Golf carts dart to and fro, ferrying customers around the property to look at the plants. This is also the Wilson’s homestead. “I like privacy,” he says. All the better to watch over the nursery. The roughly 200,000 plants he grows are worth millions, he estimates. Rareties from Borneo and beyond The burly owner prides himself on the wide selection of exotic, tropical plants, mostly edibles, that his nursery offers. “We have 2,000 varieties of native plants and cultivars.” But Wilson is proud of something else. “Excalibur grows things that others don’t. If someone wants a mango tree that size” – he points to a 25-footer nearby – “we’re probably the only one who has it.” He also has 25 varieties of...

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