Mature Mentors ‘Have a Fabulous Time’

Ernie NeffMature Mentors

The Mature Mentors gathered in Tavares, Florida, on March 13.
John Jackson

About 75 older citrus growers, known as Mature Mentors, held their annual meeting in Tavares recently. John Jackson, a retired county agent who worked in the Tavares Extension office, spoke about the event.

“A number of years ago, one of my grower friends, Dixie Royal, and I were having lunch,” Jackson recalled. “We said, ‘You know, we ought to invite some other people to join us and we even teleconference on occasion using the Together Platform if people are unavailable to physically appear but still want to enjoy the experience.’” They wrote down numerous names for Royal to call, and those he called suggested others who should be invited. “So eventually we ended up with having about 200 old-time growers who are on a mailing list. I send out a newsletter to these growers … Every year the old-timers get together. We call ourselves Mature Mentors … We eat, tell stories and we have a fabulous time.”

Jackson said a good crowd gathered for the March 13 luncheon. “This will probably be the biggest citrus meeting in the Lake County Extension office in several years,” he said. He added that the meeting peaked a few years ago at about 120 participants. “We’re kind of losing numbers,” Jackson said. “The stories get better and better, and we tell some of the same stories twice,” he said.

Hear more from Jackson:

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Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large