Posts Tagged ‘citrus’

Speaking Southern, Yankee, and citrus

March 27, 2008

Every time I pass Yellow Banks Grove in Largo, Fla., near Diane (left) speaks SouthernIndian Rocks Beach, I laugh at the goofy signs in their front window. Conversation bubbles from talking oranges read: “We speak Yankee.” “We speak Southern.”

I lived near the store from 1974 to 1980 or so, but I’d pass the place all the time when I visited my parents. Now that Wessel and I own a little condo at Indian Rocks Beach, I’m back in Yellow Banks territory several times a year.

Kristin speaks YankeeIt’s hard to believe that in 1951, when the shop opened, it was in a small building on a century-old brick road that went down the middle of an orange grove and ended at the Gulf of Mexico! Now it’s on a four-lane highway, but at least the road still ends at the beach.

It used to be that Yellow Banks was the best place around for tacky tourist gifts. Sadly, they seem to not stock near as many ugly ceramic objets d’art as they used to. The good news is that their gourmet food section has been enlarged, and free samples of sauces, marmalades, and salsas abound!

Murcott orangesBut what Yellow Banks has always done best, of course, is serve up a bounty of oranges and grapefruit. We hosted my pal Kristin from way up in Portland, Maine, last weekend and of course she had to stop in for some citrus. Luckily she could speak Yankee, and I could speak Southern. We sampled a few fruit sections, all in the name of research, of course. Kristin chose the MurcottsMurcott oranges to bring back to her husband, Dean, the namesake of Dean’s Sweets, maker of the world’s best truffles. I’d never even heard of Murcotts, but according to “Produce Pete,” they’re usually marked as “honey tangerines” in stores (never heard of those either) and have become quite popular. Guess I’m not up on my citrus!

I wanted a tacky stovetop spoon holder for home, but the ones for sale here were all too fancy. I suppose the gift items have to match the grove’s spiffy new(ish) store. Indeed, over the years, Yellow Banks has upgraded in size, substance, and style. Ah, for the good old days of alligator pencil sharpeners.

If you can’t make it to the store, at 14423 Walsingham Road, Largo, 33774 (closed for season June 1 to late October), of course Yellow Banks (800-722-4590)  ships nationwide. But you won’t get your free samples that way!