The past century has seen the citrus industry grow from the fresh fruit packinghouses of early citrus pioneers to today's billion-dollar industry for processed juice and fresh fruit. At the University of Florida's (UF) Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred, scientists and engineers have made several key scientific discoveries and technological advancements that have been pivotal to the industry's development.
CREC was established in 1917 after a group of Polk County citrus growers raised nearly $14,000 to purchase some land for a research station. Originally, only a few UF scientists were assigned to the Lake Alfred site, then called the Citrus Experiment Station. Today, CREC employs 250 people and is also home to the scientific research staff of the Florida Department of Citrus. It is the largest facility in the world devoted to a single commodity, citrus.
CREC History Photos