Vero Citrus Label Tour Started

Josh McGillEvents, History

Vero Heritage has enlarged and improved its indoor authentic citrus label collection and started the Vero Heritage Citrus Label Tour, thanks to a grant from the Indian River County Tourist Development Council. This tour of art in public places explores the historic marketing portion of citrus though artistic labels that once adorned wooden shipping crates.

citrus label
George Hamner and former Miss Florida Citrus Leila Sabet pose by the FLO sign.

Early labels on wooden crates depicted scenes of “old Florida” as well as the emergence of tourism promotion with scantily clad bathers aptly named “Flo.” With the arrival of cardboard, the wooden crates and their colorful labels fell out of use. The labels are now highly prized collectors’ items.

As of summer 2022, there are three signs in Historic Downtown Vero Beach. The sign featuring FLO is just outside the Indian River Citrus Museum and was funded by George Hamner and Indian River Exchange Packers. The Indian River County Tourist Development Council funded two other signs.

citrus label

Three more signs will be installed soon on Indian River County-owned lands: the Hallstrom Farmstead, Jones Pier Conservation Area and Captain Forster Hammock Preserve.

Heather Stapleton, Vero Heritage executive director, said, “These county-owned lands all have historic citrus connections. The placement will be a natural fit. Working with the county has been delightful. We cannot wait to get these next signs installed. And we are awaiting approval on a fourth sign. We have our fingers crossed.”

Vero Heritage hopes to work with the cities of Sebastian and Fellsmere next. Stapleton said that eventually the Vero Heritage Citrus Label Tour will consist of about 10 to 12 stops around Indian River County.

The long history of crate labels began with Florida’s shipment of citrus by Spanish settlers in the 1700s. Learn more here about the history of citrus labels on fresh fruit cartons in both California and Florida.

Source: Indian River Citrus League