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Mira Costa Students Form Citrus Company

Jun 29, 2020 04:38PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

The South Bay Citrus team. From left to right: Jonathan Graves, Jack Crawford, and Adam Goldstein.

Three Mira Costa rising seniors have started a citrus business with a "twist" - 25 percent of its profits will go to a local food bank. 

The trio of Jack Crawford, Adam Goldstein, and Jonathan Graves decided they wanted to start a summer business as a way to stay productive during the quarantine. They came up with the idea of starting a citrus business - picking fruit from Graves' family's ranch - and selling it to local customers. Their business, South Bay Citrus, has also pledged to donate 25 percent of the profits to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. 

"Starting a business has always been a goal for us, but we never had a solid idea until we found out the fruits on our ranch were organically certified and just waiting to be sold," said Graves.  "We contacted GROW and things went really well, and ever since then we have been very determined to pursue this business venture and help out our community."

The three have been taking weekly trips out to the ranch and have been hand-picking the fruits themselves. (They have been taking all recommended pandemic precautions to keep themselves and others safe.)

Their organic Ruby Grapefruit is currently available for sale at GROW in Manhattan Beach. Additionally, they are starting a subscription service. (Email them at South Bay Citrus for more information.)

"Resourceful and Professional"

The boys first approached GROW to discuss selling their grapefruit in-store. Barry Fisher, co-owner of GROW, worked with them to figure out details such as pricing and merchandising. Fisher said he was impressed with both their approach and the product.

"They're resourceful, and they're very professional," he said. 

Fisher added that he gave the grapefruit high marks for taste as well as appearance. "What I like is that the size is much larger than most fruit out there, so that’s a real plus," he said. "It's clean, it's organic, and it presents well."

The ranch also produces oranges, limes, and avocados; but only the grapefruits are being harvested right now.

Addressing Food Insecurity

The boys remain thoughtful about the purpose of their business and their desire to give back. 

"One of the reasons we started this business was because many of our summer plans had been canceled due to the pandemic and we wanted to find a way to be productive and do something meaningful," said Graves. "In addition to learning how to run a business, we realized that COVID-19 is causing more pressure on people’s access to food. Therefore we are planning to give back to the community that we have grown up in by helping in the fight against food insecurity."

The boys plan to continue the business through the summer, and thereafter for as long as they can manage. 

"As of now we are not sure if we will continue our business during the school year, but we have loved working together in creating this business, and if it continues to grow we would love to continue it by going up to ranch on weekends or whenever else we are free," said Graves. 

To keep up with the latest, follow South Bay Citrus on Instagram.

P.S. Want to know more about Manhattan Beach kids making the most of their time during the pandemic shutdown? You can read more about:

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